Stephen Payne - Ready for Opportunity

To an outsider it could seem that career progression is a matter of being in the right place at the right time and being able to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. However, that is just part of the story, as shown by the career of Stephen Payne.

Coming from Motherwell, Stephen first came into contact with the world of engineering while he was at school, when he went on a day release to a local firm to try his hand at a variety of roles. It was there that he found he had an aptitude for welding so, when he had left school, Stephen was advised to become a welding apprentice by a relative. Gaining some skills and learning the ropes at a small local company, he then moved on to join Motherwell Bridge, a world leader in the design and maintenance of storage tanks and heat exchangers as a welder.

At this point in his career, Stephen says he was working for Motherwell Bridge on and off on different projects before finally becoming permanent in 2004. He then made the step up to become a supervisor before moving into welding inspection. Of course, all of this required training and so, all the while, Stephen was busy building up his skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications.

He first came to train at TWI in Cambridge in 2006, but has also trained at TWI in Rotherham and Middlesbrough, gaining qualifications including his CSWIP Senior Welding Inspector certification.

When Motherwell Bridge’s storage tank division QA manager left, Stephen was in the perfect position, with the right level of experience, to step into the role, which he has held since 2009. You might say he was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, but there is no denying Stephen had put in the hard work to get himself in the position to be considered for the role, and he has continued to train and progress his career since then too.

With Motherwell Bridge coming under the umbrella of Cape (now called Cape Motherwell Bridge), the opportunity arose for Stephen to continue his training and he has just qualified as a Welding Specialist – again choosing TWI for his course.

Cape Motherwell Bridge paid for the training and Stephen says he wouldn’t consider going anywhere other than TWI, simply saying “it’s the best.” While he described the facilities as “first class,” Stephen also noted the industry recognition that comes with a TWI certification.

As he had in the past, Stephen stayed on site at TWI so he could be close to the action and right where he needed to be each day. Aside from a lack of travel, there was also the bonus of being able to interact with other trainees outside of the classroom, talking over any queries and ensuring he was ready for his tests.

So, what’s next for Stephen?

Having become a Welding Specialist, he now plans to go forward and gain his Welding Technologist certification before finally training as a Welding Engineer – all at TWI.

As for his career, Stephen revealed that Cape Motherwell Bridge’s current Welding Engineer is planning to retire soon, leaving the way open for him to hopefully step into the role. Is it a case of luck again?

Hardly, as, without the training, skills and experience, Stephen simply would not be in the running for the position. So, while timing is important, you need to be the right person for the job too - and that takes more than good fortune!

Stephen Payne