60 Seconds with a Distribution Engineer!
Monday 25th Oct 2021
Are you considering a career in Engineering, but not sure of all the different roles within the industry? Hear from Distribution Engineer, Tom! We asked him some quick fire questions about his job, so you can learn a bit more about the field, what he studied at School that lead him there, and what his job looks like day-to-day.
Keep reading to get your burning questions answered…
What is your name?
What industry do you work in?
What does being a Distribution Engineer entail?
So, there is a main source of electricity, and it is my job to basically manage the different routes the electricity goes to. I help deliver power to a private network such as industrial sites, places of work and construction sites. This electricity will then help power computers, fans, equipment, motors, ventilation systems and much more!
How long have you been doing this job?
I started in 2014, so around 7 years. For the first 2 years of that, I was a graduate engineer.
Would you have considered the apprenticeship route instead of university?
Yes definitely, you learn all the practical skills on the job and are very hands on throughout your time. Whereas, with university you learn all the theory first and it is not until you leave university and go into field do you apply what you learnt and see it in real life.
Did you take any A Levels, if so, what did you study?
Electronics, ICT and Maths but for any engineering job, you definitely need Maths and Physics is a bonus too!
What made you want to become an Engineer?
My dad was an engineer, so that was a massive influence. But I loved being hands on and enjoyed using equipment and tools so that is what really drew me in, studying Electronics and building circuits really helped me confirm my decision. I didn’t really feel like having a desk job was for me, so I like the anticipation of every day being a bit different. There’s so much variety in engineering, so the day-to-day tasks are usually always different, and I am constantly learning! One thing I noticed when I first started out was the feelings I had once I had completed something and saw a piece of work, I had done working successfully. When you build something and it works, you have a sense of ‘I made it happen’.
How did you go about finding a career in Engineering?
I spent a lot of time doing research into the different types of Engineering, I knew I wanted to be hands on so I looked into plant engineering apprenticeships and jobs, but there’s also paths into design engineering or project management/engineering. I applied to pretty much everything, shoot for the stars when applying because even the feedback you get from the interviews, and going to the interview and learning more about the employer really helps give you an insight into what the job actually is and what the company is like. I also did loads of work experience. I worked in a car garage, travelled to Libya to work on a water treatment plant, and did a 1-year industrial placement working for the world’s largest cable manufacturer. I literally took every opportunity that came to me and did everything I could to get hands on experience.
What does a typical day as an Engineer look like?
Normally, I will have a job list of everything I need to do, such as testing, building or if there’s a problem which needs to be fixed. So, I spend most of my day checking things and making sure they are right and solving the problems! I also manage projects and build and implement designs and help with the installation of things. The variety of tasks are so broad, for example; take a doctor or nurse or lawyer, they always get people coming in with different problems and they manage each thing differently. Being an engineer is pretty much the same as that. We are handed a number of different tasks where there are problems or issues with the electric network, and we have to fix it.
What is the best thing about your job?
The freedom to make things happen. Knowing that you are delivering a service for the people, you are making peoples day to day lives work and help contribute to keeping the world running. Everything we do in our daily lives, like turning on our laptop or turning the bathroom light on is something I have contributed to and have therefore helped someone. Also, the innovation of it. You can be so creative and innovative and that’s what is so avid in engineering, you have the freedom to make and try new things. The salary is not too bad too!
What would you say is the most challenging thing about being an Engineer?
We spend so much time working on projects, and then when we find issues later and something isn’t working you must revisit it and that can sometimes be quite frustrating and de-motivating. But that’s also exciting at the same time, because now you have to go back to the drawing board and find different solutions.
What advice do you have for young people who want to go into Engineering?
- Reach for the stars. Apply for everything and don’t limit yourself.
- You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
- You don’t know what you really want to do, or what you like until you are in it. So, try everything and don’t give up at the first hurdle.
- Be outgoing and open minded, especially when you are starting out. Have an open approach and ask questions as that is what it takes to be able to climb the ladder.
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