Tell us about your studies Jack
I chose to start an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering having left school at the end of the first year of A-levels. I’ve changed employer because I met Hydrock and liked the company’s approach and culture, and I’m really grateful to have a training agreement in place which means Hydrock has paid for my studies, and I’m now completing an HND, studying one day a week.
How does the work/study balance work for you?
I love that as I learn, I can apply it. It’s immediate experience. I like that I have the opportunity to speak to experienced mechanical engineers in the office about my college work.
Why did you choose Hydrock?
I had the opportunity to have a ‘taster day’. How cool is that! I met Chris Bowie-Hill, one of the senior team, and that willingness to give me a chance to see what it’s like was just so different as an approach, I was hooked. I actually also had an offer from a global engineering firm, but I just loved Hydrock’s approach.
What’s been good about your work so far?
In my current role I’ve had the chance to work with and learn from an experienced team working on fast-paced design projects for Dyson. From my initial software work in Revit, I’m moving on to more technical design.
The people here also make it a great place to be. It’s a diverse office with lots of interesting people to talk to.
Your work has created an unusual opportunity for you, hasn’t it?
I’m designing and part-building my own house because of a project that Hydrock has been appointed on – very few people get that opportunity!
One of my projects is a housing development that is being put together by Bristol Community Land Trust. I love this type of engineering work because we’re designing to Passivhaus standards and looking at sustainable energy sources to provide as much of the power to the site as possible.
The project aims to create a sense of community and high quality affordable housing. To reduce costs there is a self-finish element where the residents do some of the final fit-out work. As I sat there working on the engineering design, it seemed such a great idea, I reserved myself a 2-bed house!
You’ve been involved in a very significant piece of pro-bono work. Tell us about this.
Yes. I’ve been doing pro-bono M&E work, specifying plant, for 11 apartments that will create homes for young homeless people in Bristol as part of a scheme led by one of our clients, the developer, Cubex, and the property industry charity, LandAid.
It’s great to be part of a team that’s giving something back. It’s been people like me involved from the various consultancy teams, so it’s enabled me to build relationships with my peer group. We’ve been working together to source things as efficiently as we can, making decisions that will give the apartments of East Street Mews individuality and character.
It was a great moment to know our work, my work, had contributed to the planning approval so we can convert this building and get much needed housing for this vulnerable group of people.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’d been working in a sector where the focus of mechanical engineering was to make miniscule improvements to very specific processes. There’s nothing wrong with this, but when I spoke to Chris Bowie-Hill and I took the ‘taster day’ at Hydrock, I realised there are other areas where mechanical engineering has impact on a much bigger scale. My eyes were opened to the breadth and the mix of construction projects. To have an impact on this is genuinely exciting.
Jack, what piece of advice would you give to an 18-year old looking at their options?
I’d say get stuck into the built environment and learn from the constant change. There’s new technologies, new areas of focus like the wellbeing agenda, you can solve problems, and you can adapt designs to suit all these changes.
What do you like about Hydrock?
I love the people. As I said earlier, there’s such diversity. It’s great we can take a day off to support a local charity. I’m honoured to be the health and wellbeing champion in our office, influencing how we support each other and look after ourselves. It’s a young team here, with people who want to work hard together and also socialise together. That’s great!
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