Weatherhead high school (wallasey, near Liverpool), University of Sheffield
GCSEs, A levels in Maths, Physics, German and Sociology, MEng Mechanical Engineering
Newspaper round, waitress, bar staff, McDonalds, cruise ship engineer, process and operations engineer, engineering consultant
Favourite thing to do in my job: Organisation
Power plant Engineer, new mum, Manchester based
I live in Bury, near Manchester, with my partner and 6 month old daughter. We like gardening, walking in the sun, and anything that will get us more sleep.
I am a crafty person, eat allll the chocolate I can get my hands on, and I like organising and arranging things. Too many things.
I am a non executive director for British Mensa, and I currently oversee Young Mensa and the social media moderation team. I’m also organising the British Mensa annual gathering.
I’ve worked on ships, in a power plant, and now I’m a consultant. I’ve been knee deep in sewage, covered in oil, ash, drenched in water, but I still love my job. Nowadays, I wear a suit but sometimes they let me go to sites and carry a clipboard.
I help to build power plants that burn rubbish, and I write reports on how well they are doing, and I help them to make their power plants better.
I am an Engineering consultant, working primarily with Energy from Waste (EfW) plants. My background is in operations and maintenance management, where I managed and optimised power plants, boilers, water treatment plants. I ran outages and managed teams of operators and contractors. This involved knowing in great detail how things work, both the mechanical parts such as pumps or valves, and the process parts, such as knowing how the fuel burns, or how air flows through a boiler. It’s also a lot to do with personnel management and knowing the limitations of the team, and working with contractors or specialists. I also did some design work, where I would make changes to the plant, or buy parts. There was a strong health and safety focus, and it’s important before doing any work to know exactly how the work will be done, by writing out a method statement and then a risk assessment. Sometimes an isolation plan is needed also, for example when taking equipment apart, it needs to be shut off from the rest of the plant so the workers aren’t harmed.
Now, I use my knowledge and experience to work as a consultant, I am mostly office based, and I write reports on how plants are running, and give them advice on how to optimise their processes. I also provide technical advice to people such as lenders, or power plant owners who may not understand how certain things impact the plant. I carry out due diligence for lenders and people looking to buy assets, which means looking into how something is running, how it is managed, how much money it makes, whether we consider that it will work well in the future.
One thing I worked on recently was a boiler that burns wood chippings. They had some problems with the quality of the wood being delivered. It was too wet, and some parts were too small. This means that it doesn’t burn well, as it takes more energy to dry out the wood first, then burn it, and the finer parts will fly up in the hot air, and not burn properly. All of this means that a boiler is less efficient and therefore makes less money. We also found that the conveyor taking the wood was affected, because wetter wood is heavier, therefore more energy is used to keep the conveyor running, and it also wears out more quickly.
My Typical Day: I work in the office writing reports or checking documents, or I go to sites and look at how they are running
If I’m in the office, I get in at 08:30, get a cup of coffee and check my emails. I write down all the important tasks for the day and then I allocate my time. I usually do things like analyse data, check documents, and write reports. the reports are the most fun, and usually involve lots of different people writing about different things, and then I will group it all together and check that it sounds right. I will also do a lot of training or self learning to understand what I’m working on. I have approximately 2 or 3 hours of meetings per day, where many engineers or people who work in the power station will talk together about the different things they are working on. Power stations have many different parts, like electrical or mechanical, or financial, so there are lots of different people who need to come together to understand all the parts.
If I’m on site, it will be a bit of a longer day, maybe 12 hours or so, including driving, and some of the places are quite far away. I would typically do a safety induction first, then meet the person in charge. We discuss the tasks I will do. I usually do things like inspections, take pictures, collect data from the computer systems and talk to the people working there. At the end of the day, I speak to the manager again and make sure that everything is done.
What I'd do with the money
I would buy lots of kits for schools to use where they build things, and this would range from something like a simple elastic band car, to a complicated robot with electronics
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I love learning
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Organised lots of people to work on big shutdowns
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
A very old guy called Ben who I used to work with. He was full of life and very fun loving. He helped me a lot when I didn't know much, and I grew to work alongside him, which felt like a big acheivement
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
a lawyer or a french and german teacher, or an engineer
Were you ever in trouble at school?
sometimes. I could be very studious, but I also got into a lot of trouble and made the teachers life hard, mostly because I was bored
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Camps with Mensa Youth. 200 of us would go to different countries and live in a hostel for a week doing amazing fun activities, and we organise it all ourselves
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
A bigger house with more space for my family, more holidays from work, to be able to work well without procrastinating so much
Tell us a joke.
I saw my math teacher with a piece of graph paper yesterday. I think he must be plotting something