Mr Thomas Drew EngTech TechWeldi is the new Chair for the West Midlands Branch of The Welding Institute. Thomas works as a CSWIP 3.2.1 Senior Welding Inspector, his job title is Responsible Welding Coordinator, having studied for a HNC in physics at Loughborough University.
When did you join The Welding Institute?
‘I became a Member in May 2022. My previous employer was an Industrial Member of TWI, who granted me an Associate Membership (AWeldI).’
Please describe your current job role and responsibilities
‘I hold the position of Responsible Welding Coordinator at Transcal Engineering Ltd. My role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities focused on overseeing and managing all welding activities within the organisation. As the coordinator, I lead a team of eighteen and more skilled welding personnel, recognising the specialised nature of welding and the crucial need for meticulous coordination. This is to establish confidence in welding fabrication and ensure reliable performance in service.’
‘A significant part of my responsibilities revolves around ensuring compliance with various management systems, including ISO 9001, BS EN ISO 3834, BS EN 15085 and DIN 2303. I actively develop and implement Welding Procedure Specifications (WPS), and I am accountable for maintaining Welder Certification (WPQ) to uphold the highest quality standards.’
‘In addition to managing certifications, I play a pivotal role in fostering skill development and performance improvement among inspection and welding personnel. This involves maintaining and reviewing competency matrices, which guide my efforts to nurture and enhance the team’s capabilities.’
‘Ensuring precise adherence to drawing specifications and welding procedures is of paramount importance in my role. Consequently, I supervise welding personnel closely, preparing them for complex tasks and providing guidance as needed.’
‘Quality control is a critical aspect of my responsibilities. I coordinate quality control inspections, overseeing welding inspection processes and equipment, as well as ensuring that appropriate training, documentation, procedures, and calibration controls are effectively in place.’
Why did you choose a career in engineering?
‘I am fortunate to come from a family with a rich engineering heritage. My father, a Chartered Senior Instrument Engineer, has achieved remarkable feats in his career. Equally inspiring is my grandmother, a real trailblazer, as the first woman to join the Engineering Drawing Office, setting an example for others to follow. Moreover, my grandfather’s role as a Machinist Apprentice Trainer left a lasting impact on numerous apprentices, nurturing their technical skills and instilling a deep passion for precision engineering. His legacy as a mentor and educator continues to resonate, inspiring subsequent generations, including myself.’
‘The collective dedication to problem-solving, technical expertise, and innovative spirit within my family has been a driving force behind my decision to pursue a career in engineering. Their exemplary achievements and unwavering support have provided me with a strong foundation and continue to motivate me to make my mark in the world of engineering.’
What’s one of your biggest career highlights or achievements that you’re most proud of?
‘One of my most significant career highlights and achievements that fills me with immense pride occurred in March 2023, when I had the pleasure of announcing Transcal Engineering’s successful accreditation to the German Military Welding Standards, DIN 2302. This accreditation marks a pivotal moment for Transcal Engineering Ltd, as it expands our range of manufacturing capabilities, building on our already successful history with ISO 3834-2 and EN 15085-2.’
‘Over the years, we have established a strong track record working with Tier 1 defence companies on both British and international military vehicles. With this new accreditation, Transcal Engineering Ltd is now officially approved and technically capable of delivering welded components that met the general and special requirements for German military vehicles. This accomplishment reinforces our commitment to excellence and showcases our dedication to meeting the highest industry standards.’
‘The DIN 2302 accreditation opens exciting opportunities for Transcal Engineering, allowing us to take on more diverse and challenging projects within the defence sector. It is a testament to the hard work, expertise and unwavering commitment of our team, who continuously strive for excellence and innovation in our field.’
‘As we look forward to the future, this achievement serves as a milestone in our journey, motivating us to reach even greater heights and solidify our position as a trusted and capable partner in the military vehicle manufacturing industry.’
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome this?
‘During my formative years as a Coded TIG Welder, I dedicated myself to an unwavering pursuit of excellence, upholding a strong commitment to quality and adherence to standards. Among my most significant challenges was mastering the intricate art of turbine blade weld repair for GE and Siemens industrial turbine power generators. Successfully overcoming this hurdle, I developed a highly effective welding procedure that effectively tackled the critical problem of micro cracking in Inconel-susceptible materials.’
‘In February 2023, I achieved professional registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech) of the Engineering Council.’
What was the process of Professional Registration like and why did you choose to become Professionally Registered?
‘The process of Professional Registration began back in September 2022, and was indeed quite extensive. Becoming professionally registered was a decision I made based on several important factors;’
‘Firstly, to further enhance my credibility and recognition within the engineering community. It signifies a formal acknowledgement of my skills, knowledge, and expertise as evaluated by a recognised authority like the Engineering Council. This recognition not only bolsters my confidence in my abilities, but also provides reassurance to employers, clients and colleagues about the quality of work I can deliver.’
‘Secondly, becoming professionally registered aligns with my commitment to personal and professional development. Throughout the process, I had the opportunity to reflect on my career journey, identify areas for improvement, and gain new insights into various engineering disciplines. Engaging in continuous learning and skill enhancement is crucial in a rapidly evolving field like engineering, and obtaining Professional Registration serves as a testament to my dedication to staying at the forefront of the industry.’
‘Additionally, being professionally registered allows me to access a wide range of networking opportunities and resources. It opens doors to professional networks, conferences, and workshops, where I can collaborate with like-minded individuals, share knowledge and contribute to the advancement of engineering.’
‘Lastly, as an engineering professional, I believe in upholding the highest ethical standards and contributing to the betterment of society through my work. Professional Registration underlines my commitment to adhering to a strict code of conduct and promoting ethical practices within the engineering profession.’
‘While the process of Professional Registration was indeed lengthy, the benefits and rewards it offers far outweigh the efforts invested. The journey has been both challenging and fulfilling, and I am proud to have achieved this milestone in my engineering career. It has reinforced my passion for the field and motivated me to continue striving for excellence in all aspects of my work.’
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