From the Armed Forces to EngTech - A Continuing Career Development

Having served in the armed forces for 22 years, Stephen Norrish embarked on a new career in commercial welding upon leaving the army. Building upon his experience with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Stephen turned to TWI to train as a Welding Inspector. From there he opted to continue his training with the EWF/IIW Diploma to become a Welding Specialist. Having spoken to Stephen when he achieved all of this back in 2015, we felt it would be good to catch up and see how his career has progressed since then.

Shortly after achieving Welding Specialist certification Stephen expanded his knowledge and successfully studied to achieve his Welding Technologist qualification.

Stephen saw an opening for a new role with Brecknell Willis, who are world leaders in electrified rail transport systems. Welding of railway vehicle and their component under BS EN 15085-2 allowed Stephen to expand his experience.

While understanding that improved qualifications open up ever-greater job opportunities, Stephen said he is more than happy with his current employer and actually sought to improve his knowledge in order to boost his self-esteem in his career. While the next level of qualification is good for Stephen, it also offers advantages for Brecknell Willis, whose clients will certainly be encouraged by the presence of an engineer with a higher level of expertise on the staff. This would certainly help explain the continued support that Brecknell Willis are giving Stephen as he goes about progressing his knowledge and qualifications.

However, providing kudos for his employer and better industry recognition for himself through his Welding Technologist qualification isn’t the end of the line for Stephen’s career progression. Having built up credits for an Open University foundation degree, the next step after completing his foundation degree in engineering will be to train for an IWE qualification at the highest level to become a Welding Engineer.

Aside from undertaking training, Stephen has been active in the world of welding through his professional membership with The Welding Institute, who in turn invited him to join MERC (Membership, Education and Registration Committee), while he is also the chairman of the South Western branch of The Welding Institute.

While helping to advance his Continuing Professional Development, such associations also help Stephen to fulfil his intention of sharing his knowledge and giving back.

Where Stephen’s mentoring certainly helps lift the next generation of engineers, his journey from the armed forces to Welding Specialist and now Technologist is also an inspiration to others who are keen to follow in his footsteps.

For more information about training opportunities with TWI, please contact

For more information about The Welding Institute membership, please visit their website or contact