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John Soames

A day in the life of a precision engineer.

Posted by John Soames, CNC Machinist, High Tech Engineering

I was introduced to High Tech Engineering (HTE) at a time in my life when I was unsure about what the future held for me. Leaving school with average qualifications but no real idea of what I wanted to do for a career left me feeling completely unmotivated!

I came across the programme set up by Steve Tickner and his team through an advert, and after initial reservations, I thought ‘Why not? What have I got to lose?’ I wanted to find out what being a trained CNC machinist really meant!

What is great is that HTE sees training as a vital part of their sustainable business strategy. They realise that to make sure they have employees with those essential skills required for business growth, they need to train from within.

 As other precision engineering manufactures will know, the skills shortage is a real concern and there isn’t a great deal of talent coming from school and collage leavers - so guaranteeing that quality pool of people means training your own workforce.

The programme is an integral part of the business, costing over £90k per annum – so I know that, having gone through the academy, I am now a valued asset who contributes to the success of the company. My performance is directly related to HTEs success, and that creates a great sense of job satisfaction!

Everyone who comes to the academy is trained in five key areas, and each skill helps us produce high quality components time and time again.

Inspection teaches me about the importance of following procedures throughout the manufacturing process, how to read drawings and use checking gauges and has given me first-hand experience in writing inspection programmes for CMM’s.

CNC turning and CNC milling means I am now fully competent in handling 2, 3, 4 and 5 axis machinery, and I can access and plan different methods of manufacturing.

As part of the Programming module, trainees learn using HAAS control training simulators, and are taught all aspects of CAD/CAM. I can now create my programmes from a variety of cad data including solid models and am also competent in producing 2D technical drawings.

Finally, Business Improvement Techniques gives me an understanding of problem solving in order to become a complete multi-skilled engineer which is all done under our SC21 improvement activity.

All these skills are transferable so, if I do ever did decide to move on, I know that the training I’ve received will put me in good stead for a really bright career. The training is highly regarding by people from within the industry and has received recognition from SEMTA.

However, at the moment I’m happy at HTE, and know that the quality of work coming in is second to none, so I’ll be staying here for a while yet! I feel like I’m really working for a company that is going places, and their aspirations mean, for me, the sky’s the limit!