Programme start date: 16th September 2013
I studied for my BSc in Engineering at the University of Northampton, where I carried out my final year dissertation on an Anaerobic Digestion plant feasibility study. After a couple of years working in industry, I decided to continue my studies by enrolling on an MSc in Renewable Energy at Newcastle University, which included a dissertation involving testing for a tidal turbine device.
During my time at Northampton University I gained invaluable work experience at three different companies whilst on industrial placements organised through the Northants Engineering Training Partnership (NETP). I was employed permanently as a mechanical design engineer by my final placement company, Wykes Engineering, and worked for them for two and a half years until returning to study for an MSc at Newcastle. After this, I was fortunate enough to gain employment in the renewable energy sector, working within the solar industry, mainly working with photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies. This proved to be an exciting, if at times slightly volatile area to work in due to the extensive government cuts to subsidies for the sector. I acquired a range of new skills within this field whilst continuing to make use of the existing ones I had gained during my time at Wykes.
What were you doing prior to this programme?
Prior to the IDCORE programme, I had been working as a design engineer within the solar industry, using my design skills to create CAD drawings for a range of solar installations, including smaller roof-top mounted systems all the way up to full layout drawings for 15MW solar farms. As well as this, I carried out feasibility assessments for potential installations, including shading analysis and payback assessments, whilst also creating and modifying excel documents to calculate available solar resource.
What attracted you to studying with IDCORE?
I had been looking for a way to break into the tidal energy industry, which I had become particularly interested in whilst working on my MSc dissertation, whilst at the same time considering the possibility of further study, when I came across the IDCORE programme. I was drawn to the course due to the interesting content covered by the variety of modules studied and the chance to learn more about the fields in which I was interested. This was compounded with the opportunity to work at a company for three years carrying out useful research whilst working towards a doctoral thesis on a real world problem.
What attracted you to offshore renewables industry?/ What aspects of the industry do you find most inspiring, interesting or important for the future?
The opportunity to work on the development of new technologies with the chance to be involved in new discoveries and fresh challenges is such an exciting prospect that this has been a big driver for me to try and become involved in the offshore renewables industry. Of utmost importance for the future of the offshore renewables industry is the installation of viable devices that will reliably generate competitive and sustainable energy over a long term period; I feel that this is also one of the most interesting and challenging characteristics of the industry.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is that I am continuing along the path I have chosen, by gaining a place on the IDCORE programme to study and contribute towards something I am passionate about and believe in; renewable energy.
What ambition would you like to fulfil as a Research Engineer?
I would like the chance to be involved in the development of useful technology that will benefit everyone by reducing dependence on non-renewable sources of energy, thereby decreasing pollution, whilst increasing energy security and helping to combat climate change.
Experience with IDCORE so far
So far, my experience with the IDCORE programme has been a busy but very enjoyable one, with the modules proving to be both interesting and challenging. There have been some fantastic and memorable experiences, such as the group visit to the University outdoor activity centre at Firbush, where we had the chance to repeatedly fall into Loch Tay from canoes and windsurfers!