Stuart Skyrme: Building an engineering career with a TWI Diploma

As a welding engineer and welding supervisor, Stuart Skyrme’s work involves defining robust and repeatable, manual, semi-automated and fully automated welding procedures and processes to meet both customer and regulatory requirements.

In addition, he is instrumental in developing welding processes to improve the production capabilities for his employer, LTi Metaltech Ltd, as well as generating welding solutions from initial prototypes through to pre-production and full volume production.

This work means that Stuart needs to ensure all welding equipment is fit for purpose and that he is kept up-to-date with the latest welding techniques and technologies.

Plus, as a supervisor, Stuart is tasked with coordinating welder qualifications for others, as well as mentoring and acting as a point of reference for any welding related questions.

In order to fulfil his role, Stuart has maintained a range of qualifications including, a Certificate in Welding and Fabrication Practice Level I, II and III from Oxpens College, Oxford as well as several courses from TWI; a CSWIP Welding Inspector, International/European Welding Specialist (EWS), International/European Welding Technologist (EWS), and International/European Welding Engineer (EWS).

However, before all of this training, Stuart began his career in 1990 as a 16-year-old apprentice. Keen to earn some money, and being a hands-on type of person, he began applying for a variety of roles including an electrician, welder and even a chef. However, following a few interviews, he decided to begin an apprenticeship as a trainee welder with Austin’s Engineering, a small company in Kidlington, Oxfordshire. It was here that his self-confessed passion for welding began, as Stuart worked a 40 hour week and also attended college one evening a week. After 6 years, Stuart moved to his current company, where he has remained ever since.

I enjoy the everyday challenges that welding brings and get a real sense of achievement from the resolution of problem.

Stuart Skyrme

Continuing to grow his skills, Stuart recently took the EWF/IIW Welding Specialist course, as he explained, "I had been on the shop floor for many years and was always the first to volunteer to work on new products and learn new skills. My first introduction to TWI came when I was asked to do a CSWIP 3.0 Visual Welding Inspector course at TWI Cambridge. After completing the course, which I really enjoyed, I wanted to see what I could do next. Once back at work I discussed with management if I could progress within the company. They were extremely positive and very quick to point out that we were in need of a welding engineer. LTI then looked to TWI to see what was available to me and the diploma package was sent to us with the course content. The specialist level in particular appealed to me."

He continued, "By the time I had started the course, I had moved to the QA department at LTI. Having completed the ‘Materials and Their Behaviour’ and ‘Welding Processes and Equipment’ modules, which at the time seemed very intense, I went to do the CSWIP 3.1 Welding Inspector course before doing the Design and Construction (DAC) module. Having been told that the CSWIP Welding Inspection course was quite difficult by colleagues at work (and a few of them had failed), I did not think that I would pass the course. To my surprise I found the course less complicated than anticipated due to the knowledge I had gained in only 2 of the Specialist subjects I had already taken."

Stuart went on, "I found that my understanding of welding and material behaviour had been very limited until I started the specialist course and was ready to take on technologist level to learn more. I was convinced that I would not move on from the technologist level, but as soon as I completed and realised how much understanding and confidence it had given me, especially at work, I could not wait to move on to Engineer level."

When it came to his experience of training at TWI, Stuart explained that he found the lecturers to be "very professional" and able to answer any questions that were posed to them. Staying on site at TWI also provided the additional benefit of being able to mix with the other candidates and discuss what they were all learning.

In fact, Stuart revealed that he had found TWI to be hugely inspirational and was impressed that the lecturers were able to engage people regardless of their background in industry.

TWI has inspired me to keep moving forward in my career and I have no hesitation in contacting them when I have an enquiry that I am struggling with professionally. It’s a fantastic place to learn.

Stuart Skyrme

With LTi Metaltech fully supporting his development and training, Stuart is now looking to gain a HNC in Welding and Fabricating.

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Stuart Skyrme