The Welding Institute


  • 6 Jul 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Finniston Report (also known as ‘The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Engineering Profession’ or by its title, ‘Engineering Our Future’) nearly changed how the engineering profession operated in the UK with regards to professional institutions.

    Commissioned in 1979 by the then Labour government’s Department of Trade and Industry, the report was a reaction to the dissatisfaction felt by the engineering industry to the Council of Engineering Institutions (CEI).

    Industrialist, Monty Finniston was tasked with canvassing opinion from 100 of Britain’s engineering firms as well as visiting Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, the United States, and West Germany to assess their approach to the profession. In the end, the committee’s 17 members only visited 33 UK engineering firms whose opinions were not included in the report as they were deemed confidential. However, the international investigations found that the status of engineers was higher in these countries than in the UK. Finniston’s findings also found that the state was involved in the registration of engineers in all of the international countries, unlike in the UK, where it was handled by private institutions.

    Finniston’s remit also included a review of how well professional institutions and the CEI were meeting the needs of engineers and technicians, along with the role played by institutions in educating and regulating their members.

    The report was also asked to consider whether the statutory regulation and licensing of engineers – as was the case in other nations – would be beneficial to the engineering industry in the UK.

    The investigations were carried out in the light of concerns over a shortage of engineers in industry and a demographic decline in the number of 18-year-olds who could enter the profession in the early 1980s.

    Welding Institute Member Opinions and Evidence

    The outcome of the Finniston Report was of interest to The Welding Institute at the time as we sought affiliation with the CEI. In addition, The Institute was among the bodies that were asked to submit evidence and opinions to the Finniston Inquiry.

    In October 1977 a working group was created to prepare the Institute’s evidence, as shown by the minutes from a Welding Institute Professional Board meeting on 26th October where it was decided to send, “factual information concerning its constitution and activities together with opinions on the various points covered by the Inquiry’s terms of reference.”

    The earliest throughts from the Board included those of board member, Dr Nichols who, “said that he thought the advantages of limited registration and licensing greatly outweighed the disadvantages and the Professional Board agreed to recommend to Mr Gallagher’s Working Group to reply to this effect.”

    However things were not entirely clear-cut as, “Mr Boyd said that a related problem was that the Technician Engineer and Technician Boards of the ERB, on which he was the Institute’s representative, were also being asked to make submissions to the Committee of Inquiry,” with meeting notes showing, “it appeared that the Technician Engineer Board was on the whole disenchanted with its experience of working in an organisation ultimately controlled by the CEI and would be recommending that the ERB be set up as a totally independent organisation with its own Royal Charter. However, it did not appear that the Technician Board would share this view and The Welding Institute could clearly not support two conflicting policies.”

    While these conflicting views were considered, a Professional Member Survey was circulated to, “secure a picture of the way in which the classes of membership are distributed in respect of job function,” adding, “provision was made for comment on the objectives of the Finniston Inquiry as an alternative to the framing of specific questions or propositions. It was considered that comment so rendered could be given more weight than a ‘yes/no’ or ‘for/ against’ vote.”

    As a result Members ranging from apprentices to Technology Fellows were invited to offer their opinions on the Finniston Inquiry. There was a good number of respondents to the request, with the findings offering a good snapshot of the thoughts and concerns of The Welding Institute’s Members at the time.

    A February 1978 report collated the findings, determining that, “the strongest thread in the web of arguments submitted concerned the current lack of status for the industrial engineer, expressed in terms of salary (compared with overseas engineers, and with the non-engineering professions), significance of title and public esteem. This is held to affect the manufacturing sector in particular, spokesmen for which believe that their counterparts in public service or consultancy are more generously accommodated. There would be considerable support for the concept that engineers be rewarded commensurately with the wealth they create.”

    The February 1978 report continued, “There is concern that whereas professionalism is equated with institution membership and is thus allied to academic attainment, the academic preparation of the engineer is inadequate for the demands of modern practice, especially in the field of welding technology. In this respect both the teaching syllabus and the quality of student intake were mentioned in the unfavourable sense.”

    However, the report continued, “On the other hand the need for the Welding Institute to secure CEI affiliation is quite widely urged. The end result is generally seen as beneficial to the recognition of welding technology and the standing of Professional Members. The latter point was sharply defined by those working for employers who give credit for chartered status in their career structure. That this implies open acceptance of the associated academic level is much less certain; perhaps not all of the implications of affiliation are fully understood.”

    Registration of engineers was also discussed in the findings, as the report noted, “There is considerable interest for the registration of engineers, most often mentioned in regard to public safety but, perhaps, also held as an additional means of establishing status. One comment made the critical point that it would be essential to define the technical reasons for each particular case for which registration was advocated, so that requisite knowledge could be stated.”

    But this did not mean that the findings were unanimous, as the report revealed, “Another submission, however, argued eloquently against the setting up of registration/licensing as a government operation; seen to be doomed to bureaucratic muddle, injustice and unnecessary expense. There was more than a hint of awareness that individual subscriptions would be augmented by further outgoings, to add to the union subscription which Members were paying ‘because of the failure of institutions to uphold professional status.’ Nonetheless, institution control of registration would be looked for.”

    There also seemed to be a sense of dislocation between higher management and welding engineers at the time, with the report showing, “Higher management appreciation of the work of the welding engineer drew some criticism, although possibly less than might have been expected. Those not in the direct line of management can feel a sense of isolation, but more general misgiving concerns the lack of encouragement for qualification. One comment, obviously based on broad knowledge, referred to a parallel situation in respect of welding technicians; it was suggested that few who had made the effort to obtain the City and Guilds 265 welding technicians certificate had been able to secure advancement to technician level.”

    Finniston’s Inquiry had also asked for thoughts on recruitment, with The Welding Institute finding that, “Industrial difficulties with the quality of recruitment intake were, however, acknowledged. This was said to affect apprenticeships and entry to the design office, and retraining schemes were thought to be producing an unwelcome dilution of skill.”

    The report concluded, “Finally, while the overall burden of comment supported the notion that institutions should be highly influential in the sphere of qualification and professional standards, the more radical view that these matters needed a new approach was also clearly expressed. This was linked with the suggestion that the terms of reference of the Finniston Committee were too restrictive.”

    The thoughts of the membership were collected and submitted to Finniston’s Committee of Inquiry along with details of membership regulations, the 1976 annual report, details of training courses, and publications. A Professional Board meeting on 16 March 1978 saw Dr R D Johnston comment that he “felt that the Institute had put forward an extremely well presented submission, though it had to be remembered that it would be one of many to be considered by the Finniston Committee.”

    The collection of views from The Welding Institute’s Members was not just of benefit to the Finniston Inquiry, as noted by Professional Board Chairman of the time, Mr FW Copleston, who believed that, “the Finniston Inquiry had provided more information and facts than had been available before,” adding, “It would be desirable to review the whole activity of the Institute in the light of this information and he suggested that senior officers be asked to prepare… documents concerning likely developments in education, training and membership over the next 5 years.”

    Finniston Report Recommendations

    The final report from the Finniston Inquiry was delivered seven months late (on 16 November 1979) due to the volume of evidence that had to be considered (and dissent among committee members), eventually being published by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in January 1980.

    The final report actually recommended that the CEI be abolished and replaced by a new statutory Engineering Authority. This was deemed necessary by Finniston as the CEI had failed to promote engineering adequately or influence UK policy, as well lacking a central purpose for its members. Some CEI members felt that it was too slow to implement change as many decisions required the unanimous consent of all 16 members.

    Finniston felt that the new Engineering Authority should assume the responsibility of regulating admission and membership from the individual institutions and that membership grades should be aligned to the educational level of members, corresponding to higher national certificate, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degree levels. Finniston also criticised the level of education offered by British universities when compared to those in Western Europe, recommending that specific engineering degrees were introduced (BEng and MEng) as a foundation for chartered status.

    The Institute Reacts

    The submission of Finniston’s report was not the end of The Welding Institute’s involvement as we were invited to offer comments on the findings. A meeting was called on 31 January 1980 to “prepare the Institute’s comments on the report of the Finniston Committee” and a working group was set up to draw together the Institute’s comments for submission to the Department of Industry by 1 April 1980.

    Despite later concerns (raised at the Conference of Branch Representatives on 5-6 June 1980) that, “there had been very little time for consultation in preparing the Institute’s submission to the Department of Industry,” the Institute’s comments were submitted to the Department of Industry as well as being passed to the CEI and various Members of Parliament.

    A document presented at a Professional Board meeting on 27 March 1980 collected the thoughts of The Welding Institute in regard to Finniston’s report.

    The Institute accepted the need for an alternative to the CEI with the creation of the Engineering Authority. However, concerns were expressed over the composition of the Authority, believing that, “the Authority should be the expression of the engineering profession and not of the Government.” It was also felt that, “the prime responsibility of the Authority must be to act as an ‘engine for change’ in order to secure a shift in attitudes towards engineering,” but that the “ultimate responsibility for setting standards for education and training and for accreditation” would “more appropriately, efficiently and economically be performed by existing institutions.” This view came from a belief that these aspects “can only be adequately judged by experts” from institutions.

    The Welding Institute agreed with the idea of a statutory register but expressed “grave concern” over the idea of making registration independent of institution membership, stating that, “the recommendations with respect to registration will tend to have the effect of depriving the institutions of the means and authority to fulfil the responsibilities specified.” The Institute also argued that those listed on the ERB register should be transferred from the CEI to the Engineering Authority so as not to humiliate those engineering technicians who were currently registered and sow unnecessary division in the engineering workforce.

    With regards to accreditation of engineering degree courses, The Institute believed that this should be carried out by the institutions “acting as agents for the Engineering Authority, rather than directly by the Authority itself.”

    The Institute did support Finniston’s assertion for the continuing formation of engineers as developed by the Institute’s School of Welding Technology and School of Applied non-Destructive Testing, but raised concerns that “the structure of a first degree course does not take measure of the depth of specialist knowledge that is sometimes involved and brings into question the availability of teaching resources.”

    In summary, The Institute accepted that institutions had a continuing role to play but had reservations over registration being “entirely independent of the institutions” as it was felt this would “weaken their authority and deplete their resources.” It was also felt that institutions should retain their role in the education, training and accreditation rather than simply advising the Engineering Authority. The Authority itself should assist the institutions without a “domineering or interfering attitude” that would “cause resentment which would be injurious to the Authority itself.”

    The Welding Institute also stated that the Finniston Committee’s recommendations “tend to transfer too many of the proper functions of the institutions to the Engineering Authority,” yet felt that the Authority had an important role to play on promoting engineering as a career in schools and helping to persuade university engineering students that a career in manufacturing “provides job satisfaction fully comparable with that derived from a career in research or design.”

    Awaiting a Response

    As Professional Board Chairman, Mr Copleston “believed that the Institute had forwarded a very positive and well-prepared contribution” to Finniston’s findings, it was now a matter of waiting for a final outcome.

    This impacted the work of The Institute’s Policy Review Committee, especially given that the future of the CEI itself was now in question. The structure of the Institute’s Professional Board, the future role of the Institute and the training programme on offer were all forced to wait for the outcome of Finniston’s recommendations.

    There was, however, still an air of discontent over some of Finniston’s assertions, with a Mr Newman commenting that “he was unable to accept the comment in Finniston that the weakness of the engineering industry was due to the incompetence of its engineers,” with a report noting that, “he considered that the fault lay with unsatisfactory conditions at work.”

    Several draft charters were submitted and amended in relation to the Finniston Inquiry over the following months, with acting Chair of the Professional Board, Professor Budekin stating on 19 March 1981 that, “the existing Charter of the CEI could only be terminated with the consent of 75% of the existing 185,000 Chartered Engineers, hence the necessity for securing their consent to the new arrangements if a damaging confrontation were to be avoided.”


    In the end, the Conservative government opted not to follow Finniston’s recommendations and instead retained the independence and self-regulating nature of institutions. Despite Finniston’s objections, it was also decided that the Engineering Council was established to oversee the profession under royal charter (rather than via parliamentary legislation as would have been the case with a statutory body).

    The CEI also rejected Finniston’s findings and instead recommended that three new bodies were established; one for register engineers, one to promote the profession and change the national attitude to engineering, and one to act as a voice to influence national policy towards the profession.

    Of the institutions that were part of the CEI, some supported Finniston’s report and others rejected it, opting for continued self-regulation.


    Despite the original rejection of Finniston’s recommendations, some of the ideas outlined in the report did end up coming into being.

    The government replaced the CEI with the Engineering Council that still operates today and the Engineering Council instigated common record-keeping systems for continuing professional development (CPD) for engineering institutions, bringing the profession in line with accountants, town planners and surveyors who were, at the time, the only other professions to require the formal recording of CPD.

    Finniston’s recommendation to implement schemes to increase the number of engineering and science students as well as to attract more women and young people to the profession were realised, including with the 1984 ‘Women into Science and Engineering (WISE)’ campaign. This work has continued over the following decades with a survey in 2000 showing that 72% of respondents rated engineering or science as a good career choice for women, compared to just 56% at the time of Finniston’s report.

    Chartered engineer status was restricted by the Engineering Council in 1992, so only applicants with BEng or MEng degrees were accepted. At the same time the industry has become more accessible and is now seen as more desirable than at the time of Finniston’s report, with salaries increasing in some sectors.

    Perhaps most tellingly of all, the Engineering Council’s Hamilton Report, released in 2000, found that Finniston’s report had been unfairly labelled as being dirigiste (whereby the state plays an overly directive role that is contrary to its merely regulatory role). In the end, Sir James Hamilton’s report decided that Finniston had actually recommended very little legislative control over the engineering profession. However, Finniston’s report marked a monumental time for the engineering profession and the role of Institutions.

  • 29 Jun 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    With our hundredth anniversary being this year, we have been in conversation with some of our Professional Members to learn about their engineering careers and their fond memories of The Welding Institute and TWI Ltd.

    In and amongst these we have spoken to EUR ING John Kell MBE CEng FWeldI. With his personal ties to TWI and The Welding Institute that are traced back to when he was a young child, he recounted how he spent time living in our very own Abington Hall at just four years old to working with The Institute now!

    His past with the Institute began when his mother undertook a housekeeping role at the organisation’s newly built conference centre in 1968. To provide student accommodation to those attending welder and NDT training courses at TWI, the conference centre was built and subsequent upgrades to Abington Hall were made. Abington Hall also included the British welding Sports and Social Club facilities, including a bar, darts boards, full-sized snooker table and a golf putting green.

    John recalls in his time living in the flat on the top floor of Abington Hall, of playing games around the grounds of the estate with his older brother. Having a grandfather who was a marine engineer and served in The London Scottish Regiment as well as being injured during the infamous first day of the Somme during World War Once, as well as a father who spent over two decades as a career soldier within the Royal Tank Regiment and Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, John had been exposed to engineering his whole life and consequently also took an interest in the military.

    The links between Abington Hall, the military and The Welding Institute are traced back to 1946, with the end of the Second World War seeing the army, who had taken use of the Hall during the war, vacate the grounds. The forerunner to the current TWI, The British Welding Research Association having bought the Hall for £3850. Under the guidance of Dr Richard Weck, the initial fatigue research activities on the site took place in a former army hut.

    TWI Career

    John and his family knew Dr Weck well, with him living nearby to South Lodge. The former Director General of BWRA and The Welding Institute even provided John with books for his university studies. John went on to study a degree in manufacturing systems engineering at Portsmouth and worked as a design engineer for Lufthansa in Hamburg as part of his sandwich degree course.

    At this point, John had amassed engineering experience close to home after being an apprentice at TWI in 1980 under training supervisor Ray Hood’s direction. After having originally sought to work in the technical drawing office, John joined the electron beam (EB) department after spending time in the machine shop; where he operated an EB welding machine under the supervision of Tibor Szluha. This was all while studying part-time and taking training day-releases, where he earnt his ONC and HNC qualifications.

    At the time, Dr Alan Sanderson was TWI’s head of EB – he encouraged John to continue his academic career further and so he went back into full time education at Portsmouth University in 1989. After working during the Summer at TWI to earn some extra money whilst studying in 1990 and 1991, he headed back to the EB department at TWI in 1993. Currently, John became a Senior Project Leader working on out-of-vacuum EB and equipment build projects for nuclear waste containment vessels, and offshore pipeline fabrication projects.

    During the period between 1999 and 2001, John left TWI and went over to Milwaukee in the USA, working for a Tier 1 automotive company as Senior Advanced Manufacturing Engineer, supporting new joining process development, lean manufacturing process implementation and 3D discrete event simulation and robotic modelling. When he returned to the UK, he ran his newly formed manufacturing consultancy and then later returned to TWI for a further seven years, undertaking the role of business development manager for the automotive and motorsport sector.

    His career at TWI amounted to around two decades and comprised of time in the machine shop, the EB department, the manufacturing support group (where he worked on the 3D modelling of production lines and was part of the Welding Engineer Helpdesk), and as a business development lead and manager for TWI’s automotive operations. Having worked across a multitude of sectors, including oil and gas, nuclear, aerospace, automotive and defence, his career at TWI led to travel globally, from South Africa to Japan as well as time spent working out in the North Sea.

    As he now works as a principal R&D specialist for the government, John’s ties with The Welding Institute has continued.

    Professional Membership, Chartered Engineering and the Next Generation

    Previously the Chairman and a committee member of the Eastern County Welding and Joining Society (1995-2007), John was also on The Welding Institute’s Education Committee, and is now in his second term as a Professional Board member. Having starting at technician grade and progressing on completion of his engineering degree, he became a Professional Member of The Institute during his time at TWI.

    His Membership led him to become a Chartered Engineer, which John acknowledges is an important measure of engineering competence, providing endorsement and a level of assurance to employers.

    John endorsed that he would readily recommend engineering as a career, professional engineering institution membership and chartered status to others – not only differentiating you amongst peers but also being valuable for securing further professional and personal development, networking with contacts within your industry and can aid in acquiring higher value and rewarding career opportunities. As some employers favour engineers with chartered status, this qualification can offer career and social mobility for young people.

    John remains eager to use his expertise and experience to guide and encourage engineering as a career, including as a Major – officer commanding 3 Company Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force, where he supports promoting STEM.

    Career Advice

    His extensive and diverse range of experience makes John perfect for supporting and offering advice to any young people who are considering an engineering career. With the ever-changing nature of the industry provoking a move from a hardware to a software-based focus, there is still a need for engineers and technicians, and those employed in design, innovation and research and development.

    Looking retrospectively on his career, John shared that he wished he had been more confident in dealing with senior managers when he was first working as a technician, but is also keen to emphasise the value of his apprenticeship.

    Having invested time into an apprenticeship as well as studying towards a degree, John recommends the apprenticeship route for those that may not be as favoured towards a degree, as it provides a working comprehension of a role that may be shown in practise at university. This knowledge can become invaluable as you develop your career, potentially up to management, as you will have ‘shop floor’ experience to support your qualifications.

    Ultimately, whichever path you choose, it is apparent that engineering has given John career fulfilment and professional recognition, while The Welding Institute has remained a constant throughout his life!

  • 22 Jun 2023 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    Sophie Dawson EngTech TechWeldI is currently a Nuclear Welding Inspector (Project Inspector) at Sellafield Ltd, having achieved her GCSEs; she chose to pursue a NWIT apprenticeship involving gaining her current HNC and CSWIP qualifications.

    She talks us through her career in engineering, how she has benefitted from her current Membership and her thoughts on being an apprentice.

    About You

    My name is Sophie Dawson EngTech TechWeldI and I’m currently a Nuclear Welding Inspector (Project Inspector) at Sellafield Ltd. I achieved my GCSEs and then went on to complete an apprenticeship with my current employer (NWIT apprenticeship - Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician). This course involved gaining an HNC in Manufacturing Engineering, PCN Level 2 in DPI & MPI, 3.0 CSWIP and then the 3.1 CSWIP equivalent as a Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician working at Sellafield Ltd.

    Which courses have you undertaken?

    I have undertaken a NWIT apprenticeship (Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician), as well as CSWIP 3.0 and PCNs Level 2 in DPI, MPI and UT NDT testing techniques.

    Please describe your current job role and responsibilities and your typical working day:

    At Sellafield Ltd I am currently in the Major Projects team, this involves a client inspector’s role witnessing contractors’ work on various projects across the Sellafield site. My typical day-to-day role involves meeting with contractor inspectors for various companies and witnessing a percentage of NDT activities and signing up relevant inspection records, after reviewing the relevant procedures, qualifications, and materials. As well as the physical inspections, I also carry out documentation reviews for example quality plans and lifetime records for fabrications and projects.

    Furthermore, part of my role involves using my Ultrasonic Testing PCN Level 2 qualification. I will sometimes carry out witnessing activities, or I will carry out the inspection activities myself for various projects across site; and I will produce relevant documentation for example reports for the projects.

    These jobs can include lamination scanning, testing of welds and thickness checking surveys for pipelines. I have become harness trained within my job, working from height, confined spaces and using risk assessments appropriately for safe working.

    When did you join The Welding Institute?

    25th November 2020 after completing my NWIT apprenticeship.

    Early Professional Membership

    Why did you initially join The Welding Institute?

    As I have completed the NWIT (Nuclear Welding Inspection Technician) apprenticeship with Sellafield Ltd, joining The Welding Institute was part of the completion of the apprenticeship, following an interview with a TWI panel. Renewing my membership with The Welding Institute was the obvious choice for me as the benefits included are relevant for my choice of career and I am confident that the Welding Institute will continue to support me throughout.

    Current Membership

    Becoming a Member of The Welding Institute and of a professional institution has many benefits. One of these benefits being that I can focus on my personal professional development within my career as it promotes continual improvement. The professional membership also strengthens my CV and gives me the option to network with welding professionals, to improve overall my knowledge and skills as I gain experience in my current field of work.

    What membership benefits do you use the most and find the most helpful and why?

    Being a member of The Welding Institute enables me to have access to the job knowledge and information about testing techniques, which can be useful for my current position. To add to this, I will make use of these resources to help me when gaining further qualifications throughout my career’s development.

    Apprentice Specific Questions

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    I was interested in engineering from school, enjoying subjects like maths, physics, and chemistry. I completed various work experience placements within the engineering sector, one company introduced me to welding and the quality inspection aspects of the job, which I enjoyed. From then, my eyes were opened to the opportunities, and then I went on to apply for an apprenticeship with a local training provider working for Sellafield Ltd within this field.

    Why did you choose to undertake an apprenticeship?

    I chose to apply for an apprenticeship because the benefits stood out to me. I liked the idea of training up in the relevant field, gaining experience on the job in various work placements, and being paid at the same time to do so. To further this, the apprenticeship I applied for offered me the chance to complete an HNC in Manufacturing Engineering, so the higher-level education stood out to me, as it was something I was interested in doing after I left school.

    What’s one of your biggest apprenticeship highlights or achievements that you’re most proud of?

    I was firstly proud to complete my apprenticeship successfully and gain my qualifications, which were, for example, my 3.1 Welding Inspector (NWIT) qualification, my HNC, PCN Level 2s and my CSWIP 3.0 qualifications - as well as earning my professional registration as EngTech and my TechWeldI Membership.

    Throughout my apprenticeship, when working on different placements I was able to have the opportunity to find out what I would like to focus on, this being ultrasonic testing. After being offered the chance to learn about UT testing by a couple of my work placements, I began gaining experience in this field and therefore led to achieve my PCN Level 2 in ultrasonic testing methods – a qualification I’m also proud to achieve.

    Future (Membership and Career)

    What are your engineering aspirations?

    I am aspiring to expand on my ultrasonic testing knowledge, as I am currently gaining experience using the NDT technique Phased Array. I am working with colleagues who have their Level 2 qualifications in the testing method and learning from them on how to use the equipment involved. I hope that this will lead onto more opportunities for me within my career if I gain this qualification and experience. As for my future membership goals with The Welding Institute, I would like to explore potential volunteering opportunities to overall contribute to my CPD and experience within this field.

    Would you recommend membership with The Welding Institute?

    Yes, I would recommend The Welding Institute for the reasons given above.

    What advice would you give to anyone considering an apprenticeship in engineering?

    I would say go for it! The apprenticeship I was on opened my eyes to many opportunities that are available to me, and the amount of experience you gain through working in a constant working environment alongside knowledgeable colleagues is definitely worth it.

  • 15 Jun 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Dr Annette Karstensen is a Fracture Mechanics and FFS Specialist at Becht with an MSc in Engineering from Aalborg University in Denmark and a PhD in Fracture Mechanics from Glasgow University.

    Dr Karstensen talks us through how she came to be interested in engineering from a young age to travelling globally, as well as her advice to her younger self when she was beginning her career in engineering.

    About You

    When did you join The Welding Institute?

    I joined in 1996, I was fortunate enough to work at TWI in the Structural Integrity department after I finished my PhD and I was encouraged to join during that time. I worked at TWI for 7 years before I moved to New Zealand with my Kiwi husband.

    Please describe your current job role and responsibilities/a typical day in your role:

    I am a FFS and fracture mechanics specialist who gets involved in structural integrity projects for Becht clients. The projects mainly relate to advanced fracture mechanics, high temperature and fatigue issues. My projects have ranged from leak before break evaluation of large storage tanks, to remaining life calculations of steam methane reformer tubes, to establishing minimum pressurisation temperatures for pressure equipment, and the avoidance of brittle fracture. I also teach the API 579 course globally and have taught close to 50 courses in the past 15 years.

    Intro to you and your career in engineering.

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    When I was a kid, I would pull things apart and try not to have too many parts left over when I put them together again. In my teens, I got fascinated by industrial failures and wanted to become part of an investigative team that works out why failures occur. So, when I came to choose a career path, engineering was the obvious choice. Initially working at TWI gave me a really good opportunity to work across departments, learning all the different aspects that need to be investigated during a failure analysis.

    What’s one of your biggest career highlights or achievements that you’re most proud of?

    Helping clients in the petrochemical, refining or power industry better understand their integrity issues has been very rewarding over the past 25 years. I believe the highlights are when clients make an effort to call or write an email to let me know how the work that I have delivered has helped them and letting me know how much they appreciate the effort.

    In my previous role, I was the team lead for the Asia Pacific Structural Integrity team, and one of the most rewarding parts of this job was to see how young engineers straight out of university developed into competent consultants under the mentorship that was offered in my group. I remember sitting in a client meeting one day discussing a difficult technical problem, with the conversation being led by a young engineer that I had recruited and helped train and mentor, being in that meeting and seeing how well he performed felt like a real achievement.

    What has made engineering fun and enjoyable?

    I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to many clients' sites worldwide, which has been extremely rewarding. Through my job, I have travelled extensively throughout Asia, the US, Europe, and the Middle East. I have actively participated in numerous plant turnarounds, offering "while-you-wait" fitness-for-service advice. This ensures that decisions regarding return to service or repair can be made promptly and immediately. These jobs have been rewarding as there are often so many factors to consider and the issues are very varied.

    What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

    A funny challenge was on my first day at TWI when I met one of my new teammates. The first thing he asked was, “what football team do you support?” I had to very quickly pick a team - which I have followed from the side-lines since!

    Early Professional Membership

    Why did you initially join The Welding Institute?

    I was encouraged to join The Welding Institute when I started working at TWI. At that time, I was a member of the Danish Engineering Association.

    Professional Registration

    I initially became registered with the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (EurIng) in 2001. I think I applied for Chartered Engineer (CEng MWeldI) in 2003, through The Welding Institute, and in 2013 I got elected as a Fellow (FWeldI).

    Current Membership

    What are your core involvements with The Welding Institute, what do they entail and why do you undertake them?

    • While working at TWI in Cambridge, I used to participate in the golf events that were held for the East Anglia region on a yearly basis.
    • Since moving to the Southern Hemisphere, I connected with Weld Australia and participated in their industry group meetings.
    • Currently, I participate in the Australian Branch’s monthly meetings and, last month, I gave a talk about my work at Becht, including some fracture mechanics case studies.
    • I use the Weld Search Library from time to time.

    Future (Membership and Career)

    Would you recommend Membership with The Welding Institute?

    I would recommend membership to anyone with an interest in welding and joining technology and structural integrity living in the UK.

    What advice would you give or what would you say to your younger self beginning your career in engineering?

    Get formal mentorship early in your career and have set goals. During the mentor discussions, keep a notebook of the goals and discussions with the mentor. The mentor does not necessarily have to be someone from your own work, it can be someone from academia or it can be someone from a different organisation that you admire and would like to learn from. Also, don’t be afraid of changing mentors or have more than one at any time, the more input from different angles the better.

  • 7 Jun 2023 1:30 PM | Anonymous

    Aaron Kirkbride is one of our volunteer Members, having become a Member in 2013 he talks us through his career in engineering, becoming Professionally Registered as well as his experiences of volunteering with us!

    About You

    My name is Aaron Kirkbride, BEng MSc IWE/EWE CEng, CQP, MWeldI, MCQI; I’m 27 years old and originally from Washington, located in the Northeast.

    I’m currently a Welding Engineer with Rolls-Royce Submarines Ltd in Derby. Prior to this, I studied a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering at Northumbria University, Newcastle followed by an MSc in Welding Engineering at Cranfield University, Bedfordshire. I also have an International / European Welding Engineer diploma (I/EWE) through TWI Ltd, as well as being a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Chartered Quality Professional (CQP).

    When did you join The Welding Institute?

    I became a Student Member way back in 2013.

    Please describe your current job role and responsibilities:

    As a Welding Engineer, my responsibilities include the qualification of welding procedures, providing technical support to production, and undertaking QA/QC activities. This covers a vast array of processes, materials, and applications though in my current role I focus on mechanized cladding for pressure vessels.

    The business is at the forefront of innovation, so I’m becoming more involved in technically challenging projects, such as additive manufacturing and bi-cathode cladding.

    Intro to you and your career in engineering

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    I always wanted to be an engineer, but I did not quite know the route to take. At the time, I didn’t think college or university really was for me as I struggled with exams, and my Grandad was quite adamant I get an apprenticeship to learn a trade. I ended up getting one with a local company, and over the last decade, I’ve gradually progressed from an apprentice welder to a welding engineer.

    What’s one of your biggest career highlights or achievements that you’re most proud of?

    I did a part-time HNC at South Tyneside College when I was still a welder. This was one of the best decisions I ever made and was genuinely one of the best courses I’ve ever done. After leaving school, I wasn’t very confident at maths or science, but with doing, the HNC really bridged that gap and cemented the idea that I wasn’t just restricted to the practical welding side. To this day, I still recommend doing an HNC, as despite being technically challenging, it gave me a brilliant insight into the science behind welding and gave me enthusiasm to pursue it further.

    What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome this?

    Making the transition from welder to welding engineer, as it’s not a well-defined route. At the time, I didn’t know what qualifications I needed or how to get there, though there’s now some colleges offering a distance learning HNC in welding & fabrication. Even now, I find its one of a few fields where many engineers have previously started as hands-on, practical apprentices, as opposed to joining a business as a graduate with a degree.

    Early Professional Membership

    Why did you initially join The Welding Institute?

    My supervisor at the time was the Chair of the local Branch. He encouraged me to attend the monthly technical talks, which I’m happy to admit, being a welding apprentice at the time most of them went straight over my head! I was given a free Associate Membership, and shortly after, I ended up joining the Branch as a committee Member. As I’ve moved businesses over the years, I’ve been very fortunate to have mentors in each who have continued to support me being involved and given me the time off when needed.

    Tell us a bit about the process of becoming a Member of The Welding Institute:

    I joined as an Associate student grade (AWeldI) which I held for a couple of years whilst I was still studying. I ended up becoming a Professional Member (MWeldI) once I became Professionally Registered.

    Professional Registration 

    Are you professionally registered?

    Yes, I’m a CEng with The Welding Institute (MWeldI), and also a CQP with the Chartered Quality Institute (MCQI).

    What was the process of Professional Registration like and why did you choose to become professionally registered?

    I started my journey to Professional Registration by first becoming an Engineering Technician (EngTech) followed by gaining Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status and then finally CEng last year. I chose to become Professionally Registered as it demonstrates my competence and experience in the sector, as well as being recognised internationally. Whilst CEng is very familiar to most in engineering roles, you can gain EngTech and IEng much earlier in your career, but this not quite as well known. CEng typically requires you to demonstrate several years working in challenging applications with a high level of responsibility in your respective field. I also chose to gain CQP, as it was extremely relevant to my role as it includes undertaking quality assurance and compliance operations.

    Current Membership

    How has professional membership/registration helped you throughout your career?

    I think the biggest benefit of Professional Membership was the connection I’ve been able to have with the members of my local Branch. I was able to network with and be surrounded by fellow engineers, at different stages of their own careers, who are able to offer so much in advice. At this point, guidance was vital at such an early stage in my career. Professional Registration has allowed me to demonstrate my competence and experience to my employer and colleagues by having this independently assessed and verified.

    What membership benefits do you use the most and find the most helpful and why?

    I’ve found the WeldaSearch tool particularly useful, especially when I’m looking to qualify or develop a new material or process. I’m able to access thousands of technical publications and research papers, which whilst they might not always cover my specific application, in most cases they can give me leads on where to look next.

    About Volunteering

    What current volunteer roles do you undertake?

    • Committee Member and Young Members representative for the East Midlands Branch
    • Committee Member of The Welding Institutes Professional Board
    • Previously a Committee Member and the Secretary for the South-West Branch
    • Mentor colleagues applying for membership

    Why do you undertake these volunteer roles and what are the benefits of volunteering with The Welding Institute?

    Many people, even those who are existing Members of The Welding Institute, don’t realise the amount of effort and the hours that the Branch Members, all volunteers, give up supporting their local region. Whether it’s technical talks, site visits, equipment demonstrations or even annual dinners, it will be the Branch committee who organise all this and spend countless hours making sure that you get the most from your membership. Being on the Institute’s Professional Board has allowed me to play an even bigger role in this, as I can now see and contribute at a much higher level by being able to have a say on the Institute’s governance and direction for its Professional Members.

    What advice would you give to anyone considering, or even currently undertaking volunteer roles with The Welding Institute?

    Do it. Whilst we are now past Covid-19, many Branches are still feeling the effects and are struggling to regain the traction that we once had. To combat this, many have transitioned from face-to-face meetings to online talks to increase the number of attendees, but the Branches’ themselves still rely on Members coming forward and contributing to this. Many, if not all Branches will have openings for Committee Members where you can have your say on your local Branch and help shape it. Most will also have positions for Branch officer, roles that undertake a specific responsibility such as Programme Secretary (organising Branch events), Treasurer (management of Branch finances) or Young Members Representative (recruitment of Younger Members). These roles can be hugely rewarding, and you would be supported by your fellow Committee Members, most of whom have probably held the role before you!

    Future (Membership and Career)

    What are your engineering aspirations?

    I’m currently in the process of applying for European Engineer (EUR ING) status, and I’m enrolled on the International Metal Additive Manufacturing Coordinator (IMAMC) course being ran by the EWF, which is similar to the IWE though for Additive Manufacturing. A long way off but I would eventually like to gain Fellowship status (FWeldI) in the future and would like to possibly do a PhD in a related discipline.

    What advice would you give or what would you say to your younger self-beginning your career in engineering?

    It’s a very long path to becoming a Welding Engineer, but it’s been worth it. I’ve become highly qualified, and the role is technically challenging and changes every day. I’m very fortunate that colleagues who have been of a similar mind-set surrounded me and pushed me to get more involved. If you want to get more involved and don’t know where to start, contact your local Branch – they will be more than happy to give you guidance, not just on membership and getting involved with the Institute, but on your career as well.

  • 31 May 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Tony Hutchings is one of our longest serving Members, having joined in 1963. He talks us through being a Member, why he chose a career in engineering, and what have been his experiences thus far working in the industry.

    Brief description/summary about yourself:

    My career started in the shipbuilding and repair industry as an apprentice for Harland and Wolff in London. Prior to this, I passed exams to Bridgewater Art and Technical School when I was 11. This then led onto me starting as a design engineer, then pursuing project engineering and management.

    After this, I worked in the petroleum refining and chemical industry, and moved onto the offshore oil and gas industry in the UK and overseas. Throughout my career, I have worked for BP, Shell, Fluor Engineering and Bechtel as my main employers; whilst also, engineering enabling me to travel around the world working in Iran, Brunei, Qatar, Aberdeen and London.

    Introduction to you and your career in engineering

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    Engineering chose me as I went to a technical school quite early.

    Early Professional Membership

    When did you join The Welding Institute?

    I joined The Welding Institute approximately in the sixties after becoming a Member of IMechE for chartered status.

    Current Membership

    What have been some of your core involvements with The Welding Institute?

    Some of the work I have been involved in includes welding high tensile pressure vessels, which was causing problems, this initially got me interested in welding and metallurgy.

    As one of The Welding Institute’s longest serving Members, what are one or two of your fondest memories from being a Member?

    One of my fondest memories has been the study of welding and metallurgy as subjects for my Graduate membership of the IMechE via HNC and endorsements.

    Future (Membership and Career)

    What advice would you give to your younger self, beginning your career in engineering?

    I would advise to be more confident in your abilities as proven.

  • 25 May 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    With our recent explorations of the origins of The Welding Institute delving into the inaugural meeting and our past Presidents, we wanted to take the opportunity to outline and recognise our founding Members and the pivotal roles they played in the first decade of the Institute’s journey.

    Unearthing our first ever annual report from 1924 allows us to learn a bit more about how we came to be and those responsible within those early and crucial years. The first annual report outlines the following founding Members:


    Sir W. Peter Rylands, J.P.


    Sir Robert A. Hadfield, Bart,. F.R.S., J.P., etc.

    Prof. F. C. Thompson, B.Sc. (London), D.Met. (Sheffield), Professor of Metallurgy at Manchester University

    Charles Bingham, C.E.

    Hon. Treasurer:

    W. R. J. Britten

     Members of the Council:

    E. A. Atkins, A.M.I.Mech.E.

    Herman G. Dixon, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E., M.I.N.A., M.I.E.I

    L. M. Fox, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E.

    A. L. Haggerty

    A. Edgar Knowles

    T. Vincent Lane

    C. Raggett

    Capt. D. Richardson, R.A.F., Wh. Exh. A.M.I.Mech.E.

    Lewis J. Yeoman, F.C.A.

    G. Young

    The majority of our founding Members went on the serve as President of the Institution and their contributions and involvements also stemmed further to involve Vice-Chair, honorary roles, Chairing Committees, and more.

    Take a look back at what roles our founding Members played in the early years of the Institute:

    Sir W. Peter Rylands, J.P.

    Serving as the first President of The Institution of Welding Engineers from 1923 to 1925, the 1st annual report outlined that the Council invited Sir W. Peter Rylands, J.P. to accept the office of first President of the Institution and, “desire to express their indebtedness to him accepting this office in spite of the very many calls upon his time, and for the very great interest that he has shown during his office.” The following annual reports highlighted that Sir W. Peter Rylands, J.P. remained a Member of Council after his presidency, taking on roles including Vice-Chairman, North Western Branch Chair and later Vice-Chair and additionally being recognised as a ‘Special Member.’

    Sir Robert A. Hadfield, Bart,. F.R.S., J.P.

    Whilst Sir Robert A. Hadfield, Bart,. F.R.S., J.P., did not go on to ever serve as President, he undertook the role of Vice-President for five years between 1923 to 1928, being initially recognised as a ‘Special Member’ in 1924 and later appointed as an ‘Honorary Member’ in 1932.

    Prof. F. C. Thompson, B.Sc. (London), D.Met. (Sheffield), Professor of Metallurgy at Manchester University

    Beginning his role as a founding Member on Council as Vice-Chair between 1923 and 1926, Prof. F. C. Thompson, B.Sc. (London), D.Met. (Sheffield), Professor of Metallurgy at Manchester University, went on to serve as President from 1926 to 1928. His two year-long term was joint first, with Sir W. Peter Rylands, J.P., in being the longest time served as President out of the founding Members, with the 5th annual report outlining that, “at the Annual General Meeting held 22nd June, 1927, Prof. F. C. Thompson, B.Sc. (London), D.Met. (Sheffield), Professor of Metallurgy at Manchester University, at the unanimous wish of the Council, consented to remain as President of the Institution for the following year.”

    Charles Bingham, C.E.

    Charles Bingham, C.E. was a Professor of Metallurgy at Manchester University and initially served as a Vice-President for the Institutions’ first two years and was named as a ‘Special Member.’ The 3rd annual report then outlines that, “at the second annual general meeting, in May of last year, Mr. Charles Bingham, C.E. was elected President of the Institution, in succession of Sir W. Peter Rylands, J.P. Although an exceedingly busy man, Mr. Bingham accepted the office, and the Institution was already making good headway under his guidance.” After serving as President, Charles Bingham, C.E remained a Member of Council and later returned to his initial role as a Vice-President from 1930 until 1933 when, “during the year under review, Mr. C. H. Bingham resigned from the Council, and the Council wishes to place on record its thanks for the services rendered by Mr. Bingham in the past.”

    W. R. J. Britten

    Acting as Honorary Treasurer from the Institute’s origin in 1923 to 1931, W. R. J. Britten stepped down from Honorary Treasurer to become President from 1931 to 1932. After serving as President, W. R. J. Britten was elected again as Honorary Treasurer, making him the Honorary Treasurer of the entire first decade of the Institute’s history, excluding his one year serving as President. W. R. J. Britten’s role on Council also extended further, with him additionally sitting on different Council Committees including the Consultative and Papers Committees.

    E. A. Atkins, A.M.I.Mech.E.

    Sitting on Council as a founding Member, E. A. Atkins, A.M.I.Mech.E went on to undertake the role of Vice-President in 1930 and later served as President from 1933 to 1934. E. A. Atkins, A.M.I.Mech.E’s played an important role in developing and building the Institution’s reputation and name by making use of his industrial experience through his attendance, as a representative of the Institute of Welding Engineers, of the 8th International Congress of Acetylene, Autogenous Welding, and Allied Industries held in Paris in 1923. In the years following his presidency, E. A. Atkins, A.M.I.Mech.E continued to contribute to the Institute by sitting on both the British Standards Institution Welded Steel Air Receivers Specification Committee and the Internal Committee for Examination of Welders: City and Guilds, of London Institute.

    Herman G. Dixon, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E., M.I.N.A., M.I.E.I

    Initially sitting on Council as a founding Member, Herman G. Dixon, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E., M.I.N.A., M.I.E.I next took on the role of Vice-President in 1925 and he carried out this role for 3 years until 1928. It was then sadly reported in the 10th annual report (1932-1933) that, “the Council records with regret the death of Mr. H. G. Dixon on 17th August, 1932. He was one of the Founders of the Institution and from 1925 to 1928 one of its Vice-Presidents.”

    L. M. Fox, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E.

    L. M. Fox, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E. sat as a Founding Member of Council from 1923 to 1929 with the 7th annual report outlining that, “at a meeting of the Council held on the 11th of July, 1929, L.M. Fox was elected additional Vice-President of the Institution.” The following years’ annual report then stated that, “at the seventh Annual General Meeting, held 29th May, 1930, Mr. L. M. Fox, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E., one of the founders of the Institution, was elected President for the year 1930-31.” Within L. M. Fox, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E.’s Presidency, the 8th annual report also highlighted the important work he carried out, at the invitation of the British Engineering Standards Association, representing the Institution on the B.E.S.A. Committee, “for the purpose of preparing standard specifications for Oxy-Acetylene and Electric Welding.” L. M. Fox, M.I.Mech.E., M.I.Mar.E. was later elected as an ‘Honorary Member’ in 1932 in recognition of his contribution to the Institution.

    A. L. Haggerty

    Beginning as a founding Member of Council and being listed as a ‘Special Member,’ A. L. Haggerty later became a Vice-President in 1928 until 1929 when it was reported in the 7th annual report that, “at the sixth Annual General Meeting held on the 12th June, 1929, Mr. A. L. Haggerty, one the of the Founders of the Institution, was elected President for the year 1929-30.” After serving as President, A. L. Haggerty continued actively within his role on Council, including sitting on multiple committees such as the 1932 Prize Competition Committee, Papers Committee and Internal Committee for Examination of Welders: City and Guilds of London Institute Committee.

    A. Edgar Knowles

    Whilst a founding Member of the Institution, A. Edgar Knowles did not continue his role on Council after 1924. He did, however, remain an active Member of the Institution sharing his technical knowledge and insight with the Institution’s network of engineering personnel, demonstrated by the 3rd annual report outlining that, “the 10th Ordinary Meeting of the Institution was held at Caxton Hall on 12th November, 1925, Mr. A. Edgar Knowles, one the of the founders of the Institution, read a paper on the “Manufacture of Oxygen with Special Reference to its Product Electrolytically.”” He continued to deliver this talk throughout the following years at various ‘Ordinary Meetings’ across the country.

    T. Vincent Lane

    T. Vincent Lane was listed as a founding Member and Member of Council between the Institution’s year of establishment in 1923 and 1925, however, after being left off of the 3rd annual report from 1925-26, he reappears in the 1927 4th annual report, which later outlines that T. Vincent Lane was one of three people co-opted to Council in the Annual General Meeting of that year. T. Vincent Lane later went on to serve as Honorary Treasurer between 1931 and 1932.

    C. Raggett

    Named as a ‘Special Member’ of the Institution, C. Raggett allowed the use of his address of ‘RAGGETT & CO., Printers, 30 Red lion Square. London, W.C.1’ as the Registered Office of the Institution. His contributions to the Institution, however, were not limited to the use of his address, with C. Raggett undertaking the role of Honorary Secretary and serving in that position for over a 6 year period throughout the Institution’s first decade. He also sat on multiple committees including the Prize, Consultative and Papers Committees. The final annual report of this period referenced C. Raggett’s contributions stating that, “it is with great regret that the Council has to inform the Members of the resignation of Mr. C. Raggett as Hon. Secretary of the Institution. The increasing work of the Institution renders it necessary that a whole-time Secretary should be appointed and that the Institution should have its own offices. The Council also wishes to place on record its appreciation and thanks to Mr. C. Raggett for the great services which he has rendered to the Institution for so many years in the capacity of Hon. Secretary and for the continued use of his address as the Registered Office of the Institution.”

    Capt. D. Richardson, R.A.F., Wh.Exh., A.M.I.M.E. and G. Young

    As with all founding Members, Capt. D. Richardson, R.A.F., Wh.Exh., A.M.I.M.E. and G. Young were both individuals who, as outlined in the Inaugural Meeting article, came forward to consent to act as founders for the Institution. Capt. D. Richardson, R.A.F., Wh.Exh., A.M.I.M.E. sat on the Council of the Institution for 5 years until 1928 and G. Young sat on Council throughout the entire first decade of the Institution’s origin.

    Lewis J. Yeoman, F.C.A.

    Within Lewis J. Yeoman, F.C.A.’s time on Council, his roles involved serving as a Vice-President from 1927 to 1928 followed by serving as President between 1928 and 1929. His involvement with the Institute continued moving forward with him being recognised and elected as a ‘Special Member’ in 1930 and him sitting on the Committee for Revision of Articles and By-Laws.

  • 19 May 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Our Structural Integrity Technical Group will be hosting their upcoming online Technical Group, from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM (UK time) on 15 June 2023.

    The event, which is titled, ‘Back-to-Basics: Engineering Critical Assessment,’ will be useful for all who want to find out how Engineering Critical Assessments (ECAs) are performed, the input data needed and the pitfalls that can be associated with them.

    Who Should Attend?

    Materials, Welding and NDT Specialists, and all others who are interested in structural integrity.

    Speaker and Presentations:

    • Matthew Haslett, Team Leader – Environmental Testing, Fatigue and Fracture Integrity Management Section, TWI Ltd - What is ECA and what input data is needed?
    • Dr Yin Jin Janin, Principal Project Leader – Fatigue and Fracture Integrity Management, TWI Ltd - ECA Approach and Procedure
    • Dr Rob Kulka, Section Manager - Asset Integrity Management, TWI Ltd - Links to other procedures and misuse of ECA


  • 18 May 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    John Batey FWeldI has accomplished many accolades including passing multiple Institute of Welding Membership Examinations in 1966 to 1967. As well as going onto achieving multiple first class passes.

    He qualified as a CSWIP 3.2.2 Welding Inspector and was awarded diplomas as a European Welding Technologist and a European Welding Inspection Specialist in both May and September 2000 respectively.

    John discusses why he chose engineering, his extensive welding experience as being one of our longest serving Members and his advice to his younger self-beginning his career.

    Brief description/summary about yourself:


    I passed The Institute of Welding’s Membership Examinations in Welding Technology, Welding Metallurgy, Welding Inspection and Control in 1966-67. I also obtained first class passes in technology and engineering drawing, science and calculations plus practical welding, for the Welding Technicians Grouped Course set by the Northern Counties Technical Examination Council in 1961, 1962 and 1963. I also achieved first class passes in the ordinary and advanced level of the City & Guilds of London Institute in Welding in 1962 and 1964.

    The European Welding Federation (EWF) awarded me a diploma as a European Welding Technologist in 2000 and later that year, they awarded me a diploma as a European Welding Inspection Specialist. I later became certified by CSWIP as a Welding Inspector 3.2.2 Level 3 in 2015.


    Starting with a five-year welding apprenticeship with The National Coal Board from 1960 – 1965, my career has included senior welding engineering and quality management positions in shipbuilding, offshore oil and gas projects, nuclear and conventional power plants and civil engineering contracts.

    The latest company I worked for was Consolidated Contractors Company in the Middle East as a Chief Welding Engineer and Project Quality Manager on major oil and gas projects.

    Intro to You and Your Career in Engineering

    Why did you choose a career in engineering?

    I chose a career in engineering as in the area where I lived, there were several heavy engineering industries with multiple job opportunities

    Early Professional Membership

    When did you join The Welding Institute?

    I joined The Institute of Welding as a Graduate Member in 1963, I was then elected to the class of Member in November 1969, and finally to class of Fellow in November 1981.

    Why did you initially join The Welding Institute?

    I initially joined the Institute of Welding because I attended the monthly lectures held by the Northumbria Branch in Newcastle and wanted to be part of the organisation.

    Current Membership

    What have been some of your core involvements with The Welding Institute?

    In the 1970’s and 1980’s I served in various capacities in the Northumbria Branch, I was Programme Secretary, Social Secretary, Treasurer, Vice Chairman and Chairman.

    How would you say professional membership has helped you throughout your career?

    Professional membership helped me throughout my career as clients and personnel recognised The Welding Institute as a very important organisation.

    As one of The Welding Institute’s longest serving Members, what are one or two of your fondest memories from being a Member?

    My fondest memories of being a member are attendance at Branch lectures, social events, Branch dinners and liaison with TWI staff on technical matters.


    What advice would you give to your younger self, beginning your career in engineering?

    I would strongly advise anyone who wishes to have a career in Welding Engineering to gain as much practical welding experience as possible and join the Welding Institute as soon as they can.

  • 12 May 2023 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    Our Welding and Joining Processes Technical Group will be hosting their upcoming online Technical Group, from 12:30am – 13:30pm (UK time) on 8 June 2023.

    The event, which is titled, ‘Back-to-Basics: MIG/MAG welding,’ will provide an introduction to MIG/MAG welding, attendees of this webinar will learn about the:

    • Advantages and disadvantages of the process
    • Power sources and their current/voltage characteristic
    • Ancillary equipment such as torches, wire feeders and umbilicals
    • Modes of metal transfer and welding consumables
    • Finishing with a brief look at some aspects of health and safety

    Who Should Attend?

    This webinar is aimed at engineers, technicians, welders and apprentices entering the welding profession or those with little or no knowledge of the process and would like to know more.

    Speaker and Presentations:

    • Eur Ing Eugene Mathers CEng, MSc, Dip IIM, FWeldI, EWE, IWE


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