Mechanical engineering student profiles

Katie Martin

"Plymouth's extended science foundation helped me get onto the engineering pathway, particularly useful considering I only had two A levels in English and French, both grade D! Location was another large driver in choosing Plymouth, being by the sea and Dartmoor and still having lots of cultural/arts events nearby to go to is amazing.

The engineering course itself, has shown me how to deal with juggling lots of work and deadlines effectively. It built my confidence, ability to think on the spot and defend my arguments through assessed debates, which is useful in a work environment. We were taught to consider environmental and ethical issues that we may meet in our careers, which is really important and eye-opening."

Find out more about Katie's experience

Jessica Hirst

"Completing my engineering degree at Plymouth University has prepared me well for the future. Particularly, the various presentations required has massively improved my confidence and working with many different people has improved my teamwork skills.

The library service was key in helping me achieve my degree along with the help and support I received from lecturers on the course, particularly during my dissertation. Ultimately, the most helpful thing the University did was making it possible for me to go part time for my final year, allowing me to achieve the best I could and gain work experience at the same time." 

Find out more about Jessica's experience

Treeve Rowe

Development Engineer, BOC Edwards

“Plymouth University was a turning point for me. Originally I hadn't considered going to university but I'm glad I did and now feel extremely proud of myself. I had a great time and as a result of my studies I have a fantastic job which takes me all over the world.

After A levels I went straight into full-time employment as an Apprentice Welder and Fabricator. However I have always been fascinated by mechanical devices, so when I found myself unable to continue my apprenticeship due to a motorbike injury, I decided to do a technology foundation course at Plymouth University. From this I was able to progress onto the BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree.

I now work as a Development Engineer for a large multi-national company and am learning from some fantastically experienced and interesting people. I am currently working with mechanical and vapour vacuum pumps and systems as used, for example, in electron microscopes and the production of television screens.

My role gives me great insight into the international relevance of the course I took at Plymouth as I work in a product support role looking after products manufactured outside the UK."  

"I believe university should be your own choice. You definitely get out what you put in and, if you are tenacious and stick at it, there is nothing you can't do."

Russell Lloyd

Founder, Eco Filtration Solutions (Eco FS)

“As part of my BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering course I chose to spend a year on work placement with Plymouth-based Fine Tubes, a manufacturer of precision tubes for a wide range of industries including aerospace, oil and gas, medical. As a result of my performance, the company sponsored the final year of my degree and offered me a job.

However, I decided I would be better placed if I set up my own consultancy and worked with Fine Tubes independently.  Ever since my placement, I have had a dream to design technology which can cut down on carcinogenic and ozone-depleting emissions from manufacturing industries, so I set up Eco Filtration Solutions (Eco FS) and have been working with experts at Fine Tubes since finishing my course last year.

At the same time I entered the University’s Business Ideas Challenge and won the environmental award category.  Along with some great support from the School of Engineering at the University and £1,500 in prize money, the Challenge gave me the confidence to go forward and develop my idea.
The consultancy's main aim is to design and manufacture a product which will filter environmentally friendly solvents used in the manufacturing industry at 'significantly low' energy costs." 

"The idea is based on technology developed in the 1960's for the water industry but it has only recently possible to adopt this technology for solvents due to new research. The consultancy also acts as adviser to Fine Tubes on similar eco-wise issues. 

It’s a big adventure for me and a chance to help in the fight to improve the global environment and tackle climate change. I really see this going global but I am very keen to keep a base in Plymouth. It is a great city, full of opportunities.”

Josh Playle

Graduate Building Services Engineer at AECOM; Managing Director at Conclient

“The engineering course is quite diverse and there are modules on business and management which makes it well rounded.”

"I’ve been running my start-up, Conclient, Monday to Friday, nine to five. It’s been a bumpy ride so far, but we’ve bounced back pretty well thanks to the great effort put in by the team: Jamie, Paul, Dave, Ben, Turk, and Vachha. I’ve also been to Germany for two weeks with the Exeter University Officer Training Corps (it’s open to Plymouth students as well), which was amazing." 

Find out more about Josh's experience

Lee Davis

PhD study at Plymouth University

Despite his boyhood passion for Formula One racing, when he was at school Lee Davis never dreamt he would one day study mechanical engineering at university - never mind research and occasionally lecture at one. But thanks to his own hard work and the unswerving support of his tutors, Lee has realised all of these.

Following a short stint in manual work, Lee did some research and determined that the one-year Foundation Pathways in Technology course fitted his agenda perfectly, as it would allow him to get his mathematical and scientific skills up to the standard required to qualify for a place on an engineering degree. Lee passed the course and was accepted onto the four-year BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree.  

"When I look back, it seems amazing to me that in a few short years I went from just three GCSEs to studying things like rocket science!" he said. "But I worked hard and was passionate about engineering. This, and the unflagging support and encouragement of some really great tutors really spurred me on. Their open-door policy meant I was always able to find them when I needed to get advice - and they really helped me to believe I could achieve what I wanted."

Lee passed his degree and was accepted for PhD study at Plymouth.  His research is based around developing leaner, greener supply chains in construction. Lee occasionally gives lectures at all degree levels when aspects of a given module relate to his work. He is also proactive in encouraging students to keep trying to achieve their full potential.

"Having received so much help from the university, it’s really satisfying to be the able to give something back, whether that is helping out with lectures, or promoting the University on open days,” he said. "Also, I can tell you, quite comprehensively, how a Formula One car works!"

John Laity

Design Engineer; Co-founder, Director and Trustee

“I recommend education to anyone who has an enquiring mind, but I recommend Plymouth to anyone who wants to have fun living and learning in the same place.”

"I left university and went straight into a job at a paper converting machine company in Southway. I saw the job on a board in the mechanical engineering block and was hired as a Design Engineer. Following a year 'on the drawing boards' I was let loose on several designs of paper napkin making machines. After four years’ service I moved into packaging machinery at Kliklok Woodman in Bristol where I designed and patented two designs for handling cake and biscuit products."  

Find out more about John's experience

Dr Chiew Seon Tan

Senior Control Engineer, Alstom Power Technology

“Engineering is my passion and my ambitions have always been very clear. I had an HND in mechanical engineering but knew that to further my career I would need a degree. Now I have a degree in mechanical engineering, a PhD and a job I love. None of this would have been possible without the help I received from Plymouth University.

Brought up and educated in Malaysia, neither of my parents went to university but I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to study at Plymouth.

Because of the knowledge, advice and experience I gained at Plymouth, I have been able to realise my ambitions and do something I love. My job is very multi-disciplinary in nature and I have worked on a variety of projects from commissioning industrial gas turbines to furthering technology in airport runway lighting."

"Plymouth is such a lovely place, very vibrant indeed. The University's International Office organises many events to make sure students from overseas feel welcome, and I found the lecturers very receptive and helpful. I really miss the place.”