There are two things I really enjoy about the company: being part of the City of London traditions and having the opportunity to talk to like-minded people – both commercial and academic – to get new ideas for business.
During the summer just gone I took an internship with Mechatronic Solutions in Birmingham. Through my Apprentice Master and a member of the Worshipful Company, Chris Gibson, I was given this special opportunity, for which I am extremely grateful. I found my internship very interesting and rewarding and I felt it developed me positively as an engineer.
As a student, membership of the Company has given me access to a wealth of experience and knowledge. I have found it a friendly and supportive environment and the events and presentations have enabled me to pursue my interest in scientific equipment.
Being a member of a City Livery Company makes you a part of a long tradition of philanthropy, charity and pageantry. While part of this is the enjoyment of formal dining in our own hall or in the fantastic and historic Livery Halls of other Liveries in the City of London, our Livery has a unique involvement in the promotion of science and engineering in the City and with Government. As a professional engineer, being a member of the Livery is an important part of my responsibility to my profession and the wellbeing of the country.
My Arkwright grant funded a residential Maths camp and, at an engineering taster day at Cambridge, I learned about the mechanics behind the ‘chain fountain’ phenomenon. An Arkwright visit to a company called TTP opened my eyes to the possibility of working as a researcher in industry. Through WCSIM I also attended a fascinating lecture on the science of invisibility by Professor John Pendry, which covered the topic of meta-materials with negative refractive index, encouraging me to explore this area further.
I wanted to be part of SIM for a number of reasons: I wanted to support the good work carried out by the Company in promoting STEM (I had been introduced to the company through its support of ‘young engineers’) but I l also like the traditions and the networking.
As a member of the Institute of Measurement and Control, when joining a Livery Company the obvious choice was the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers. To witness, and be part of, the traditions associated with the Livery Companies of the City of London is something quite special, especially when the occasion is shared with like-minded individuals.
I must thank the livery for their support; they have had a great influence on me. I would definitely not be here without their help. As an Arkwright scholar, who joined as an apprentice at sixteen, the livery opened my eyes to what was possible and what kind of work its members did. I remember coming away from events and dinners, fizzing with excitement about having met the guardian of the kilogram, or the designer of large telescope electronics, or a researcher who works at a particle accelerator. I would have never thought those jobs existed before! It is this atmosphere that has made the livery such an important place for young scientists and engineers. I hope to contribute and give others the same opportunity I have had.
I strongly support the ethos of the Company and the work they do to encourage instrument makers of the future, particularly through their mentoring programme, awards and support of schemes like the Arkwright scholarships. We all remember the person or scheme that played a pivotal role in us choosing instrument making, in one of its many forms, as a career path. Paying this forward to the next generation is an obligation we should embrace joyfully and wholeheartedly.
I became part of the company when I was young and unsure of my career direction, at the time the company informed and guided me. Six years on this is still the case today, and I also benefit from the great contacts I develop at events and dinners. The company enabled me to find out first hand what it was like to be at different stages of an engineering career, this helped me decide what to study at university and what career path I was best suited to.
As my apprenticeship with SIM has now, sadly, come to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to express my immense gratitude for the care and support that I have been shown by the Company over the past five years, both financially and academically. It is no exaggeration when I say that this support has been of huge value to me. The financial support has had very direct, obvious benefits (rent in Cambridge is expensive!), but, perhaps more importantly, the academic support and advice that I have had from you has definitely helped inform some fairly big decisions for me over the years, and also kept me motivated when things have seemed difficult.
I thoroughly enjoyed attending the livery banquet over the summer, and am incredibly grateful for both the financial aid and support that the company has offered and continues to offer me. I am hoping to soon attend a talk on engineering at the House of Lords, having been invited by a member of WCSIM.
The livery is made up of highly knowledgeable and experienced technologists and therefore represented a pool of resource that could be called on at need. Especially in the area of Safety, I felt much more comfortable talking to customers, knowing that I had the Livery to fall back on, if needed.