Meet our lecturers - Darren Jefferies

TWI's Senior Welding Lecturer, Darren Jefferies began his career in a small company in the village he grew up in, where he developed a passion for welding. This led to his qualifications at night school that in turn allowed him to take a position at TWI and share his passion as a teacher.

Working at a local engineering company after leaving school gave Darren the basics in welding and fabricating, but the start of his career as a lecturer came when the company agreed to send him to night school. He received distinctions and continued going into college to help the welding instructor with other candidates, where he received his introduction to teaching.

When a position as a welding technician became available at TWI, Darren started in the arc welding department where he learned about different welding processes and equipment. He ended up running the water jet, plasma, and gas cutting equipment, as well as the submerged arc welding equipment, plasma welding and surfacing equipment.

After a year in arc welding he was seconded to the friction and forge processes department to fabricate and weld a large frame to carry the new friction stir-welding machine. He was later noticed by Tibor Szluha, who was impressed with his work and attitude, and offered the opportunity to join the electron beam department as an electron beam welder.

His projects as a technician have included fatigue life improvements on the London Underground, hardness testing in the wilds of Kazakhstan, and installing and commissioning friction stir welding equipment in Malaysia. After eight years working on the shop floor and another eight years as a laboratory manager for electron beam, friction and forge processes and advanced materials and processes, Darren was asked to join TWI's training and examination services team as a senior welding lecturer, where he has remained ever since.

Darren is passionate about his role. When asked, he calls himself a teacher rather than a lecturer, seeing his role as focussed on engaging with the student and going the extra mile to ensure their understanding.

He currently teaches three levels of welding inspection courses; CSWIP Visual Welding Inspection, and Welding and Senior Welding Inspection, as well as the CSWIP QC Co-ordinators course when it runs, and half of the EWF/IIF Welding Diploma modules. He is also often asked to produce and deliver bespoke courses for clients such as Stryker Orthopaedics, Rolls Royce and EDF Energy.

Darren has travelled extensively to teach, venturing as far as Australia and South-East Asia, as well as widely in Europe - holding a highly successful welding inspection course in Ireland earlier this year. He says that it is far less glamorous than it sounds and he does not often get to experience the culture of the places he visits, but that meeting and teaching the people are the most important and rewarding parts of his job.

With his wealth of hands-on experience, Darren is keen to make sure he understands what he is teaching, and that his students understand it themselves.

Trainees that have studied under Darren consistently provide positive feedback about their training, saying that he delivers the courses with a high level of professionalism and knowledge, while remaining very approachable and willing to go the extra mile to solve any queries they may have.

Ultimately, Darren doesn't see himself as any different from the candidates he teaches. He always encourages students to ignore his suit and tie, saying that he is more comfortable in a boiler suit.

Meet our lecturers - Darren Jefferies