Becoming a Member of The Welding Institute
John Wintle became a Member of The Welding Institute as a Fellow in 2012. At TWI John is a Technology Fellow and Consultant Engineer, specialising in Integrity Management of welded structures. He is also a Visiting Professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde since 2013.
Despite not being a qualified welder, John chose to apply to become a Member of The Welding Institute because he wanted his peers and colleagues to recognise his experience and competences relating to welding technologies and professional standards. John’s decision to become a Member of the Institute was also in support of the work of professional engineering institutions, through CPD and mentoring, as natural progression for a senior TWI engineer.
Benefits of being a Member
With regards to the benefits of becoming a Member of The Welding Institute, John highlighted that being a Member provides you with a personal professional identity that is separate from any employment. It becomes a permanent form of recognition for you as an individual. Being a Member of a professional body encourages you to view your potential and growth beyond just the company for which you work, and he put his own successful career down, in part, to this.
John believes that this form of recognition has aided his career through it setting professional standards for competence, ethics and integrity within his work and personal behaviour. Membership of a professional Institute has allowed him to have a wider perspective on the world and an appreciation of related disciplines. It has enabled him to network with other professionals at Meetings of different Welding Institute Technical Groups (TGMs), and make contacts with people who he would possibly not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.
John mentioned his CPD record and how, through attending TGMs and other membership events, he gained a platform to develop and increase his profile and reputation in the engineering community, which have then led to new career opportunities and new projects. He said that he uses his professional membership and CPD record both personally to calibrate his work and achievements, and also professionally to show others (clients included) his level of experience and competence.
Involvement with The Welding Institute
John’s involvement as a Member of the Welding Institute also includes his support through the volunteer work that he does. He has given presentations at Technical Group Meetings discussing the topics that are most relevant to industry. He also chairs student seminars for the Young Members’ Committee. His main motivation for the volunteer work he does is the satisfaction that he gains through helping influence a younger generation of engineers to aspire towards professional standards by mentoring individuals at the early stages of their careers. This is furthered by his role as a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde, where John goes once a month delivering lectures to students, supervising PhDs and assisting the academics in developing new courses.
Becoming and practising as an Engineer
John studied physics at the University of Oxford and had no intention of becoming an engineer. He later discovered that his interest in functionality, simplicity and fixing things would steer his career development into becoming an engineer. He originally worked as a developer of engineering modelling software in a manufacturing company and became involved in a project investigating the reasons for the cracking of disc brake-pads. After helping to solve the problem, John did research at Loughborough University on flexural effects in drum brakes for which he was awarded an MSc.
Following this John pursued a career in engineering, first within the nuclear industry and then at TWI, for the direct impact that his technical knowledge and professional skills could have on people’s lives and business affairs. Among John’s engineering achievements were contributions to ageing and life extension of Magnox nuclear reactors, and the delivery within an international network of a large scale spinning cylinder test demonstrating the integrity of nuclear reactor pressure vessels.
He then worked at TWI on risk based inspection and ageing of pressure equipment in the nuclear and oil and gas sectors, and life extension of offshore installations. He was a long standing member of the Pressure Systems Group of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and his committed contribution to the pressure equipment community was recognised by being awarded the 2018 Donald Julius Groen Prize in 2018 by the Institution.
When asked about the project that has made him most proud during his career, John referenced the ‘Health and Safety Executive’s Research Report 509 – Plant Ageing: Management of Equipment Containing Hazardous Fluids and Pressure (2006).’ The report can be said to have changed industry’s attitude towards degrading equipment, and encouraging a shift from the culture of finding a problem and fixing it to predicting problems and thereby preventing them from happening. He described his satisfaction when he finds that his report is still being referenced and used today.
Advice to the next generation
John finished by offering some advice to the next generation of engineers, by saying they should try to remain true to themselves throughout their career. He said to see yourself as a professional so that you can gain the confidence to take on problems and speak when others may feel unable to do. Being a Member of a professional engineering body such as The Welding Institute is a vital element.