60 second interview: Will Moody
Paul Fanning talks to Will Moody, Design Engineer, FW Frost Engineers
How did you get into engineering?
My father was an engineer and I always had an interest in the drawing side of things. I basically followed him into the same business he worked for, which is the small, family-run business I still work for today. FW Frost Engineers.
I started out as an apprentice not doing what I do now, but as a machinist. I then went on to fitting and gradually worked my way through the works and ended up as a draughtsman and then as a designer, which is the position I still hold.
What attracted you to engineering?
I'm quite a practical person and still get told off for looking at things when we're out shopping to see how they were made. I suppose I haven't got an artistic mind as such, but a creative mind, maybe.
What does your current role involve?
I am the design engineer for this company. We're a sub-contract engineering company and many of our clients have no design facility, so they use us to design for them. This covers a range of products from agricultural machinery, confectionary, structural, special purpose machinery – a broad range of industries that we work for. I get to try my hand in a number of areas, which really helps to keep the job fresh.
I still wake up each morning thinking 'I've got to go to work today – I'm going to enjoy this!' Not knowing what the next thing I'm going to have to work on keeps it exciting and the job means we have to look at new ideas and processes all the time. What are the biggest issues facing the industry? As a company, we have real problems recruiting staff of the right skill level.
In the last couple of years we've started to take work experience boys from the local schools and colleges. This is good from our point of view because it gives us an appreciation of what kind of training they're getting and it gives them some insight into what kind of a company we are. Unfortunately, you tend to find that engineering is looked at as being the bottom of the pile. If you can't get a job in IT or you're not regarded as being too smart, then the attitude seems to be 'oh, engineering will be alright for you'.
That seems to be the opinion and of course, it's not the case. The way engineering is at the moment, there's some highly skilled jobs and you need bright people. We've taken several apprentices over the last couple of years, but now we're moving more towards hiring skilled men.
What have been the biggest changes you've witnessed in the industry?
There are new processes. One of the biggest that has affected us has been lasercutting. That really has affected the way we work in that, as a company, we don't actually own a lasercutter, but we probably now outsource as much as half of our sheetmetal platework up to about 12mm thick to lasercutting companies.
Rapid prototyping hasn't really affected us as yet in the type of work that we do, but I can see potentially that that's another area to keep our eye on. I take journals such as Eureka to keep up with what's going on because you've got to keep up with what's going on.
What still excites you about engineering?
Not knowing what I'm going to be doing from day to day and all the challenges that brings. My job entails finding solutions to problems and I still have a keen interest in all things mechanical at the end of the day.
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