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From aspiring pilot to electrical engineering: George Naylor, Waldeck | National Careers Week

  • Publish Date: Posted 22 days ago
  • Author: James Kenealey
George Naylor is a Senior Electrical Design Engineer at Morson Group company Waldeck. He spoke to us for National Careers Week about his route into engineering, and the value of an apprenticeship.

What did you study and school and what did you want to be?

At school, when it came to my options, I did history, geography and pay and I also enjoyed maths and P.E. as well as the sciences. Between the ages of 10 and 13, I always said I wanted to be a pilot. And then when it came to being a little bit more realistic and I did like my sport, so I always thought about doing something like being a physio or even a PE teacher. But I saw the struggles with older siblings trying to get jobs once they've been to university doing a sports degree. So, I took a slightly different angle. When I got to 15 or 16, I did want to do some things are in construction, I have family members in construction engineering, so that told me that there's quite a big gap in the market and engineers wanted all over the world.

It's something that once you train up, you can go anywhere to do. So I was, I was only 15 and turned 16 in August and I was meant to be starting a full-time electrical engineering course in the September. And then I got offered an apprenticeship.

Talk to us about the apprenticeship.

I’d just turned 16, so at first, I wasn’t sure that I was doing the right thing. But looking back now, with that sort of part time learning one day a week, you get in four days experience out on-site training to be an electrician and then that hands on experience alongside you. We've been in the classroom on the theory side, and on-site you can speak to the trained professionals to ask them questions that will help it within the classroom.

What’s the difference between being an electrician and an electrical engineer?

Being an electrician is a different skill set. You take drawings that other people have produced, so unlike the electrical engineering side and it's a much more practical role. And you don't necessarily learn all the theory behind everything. But there are similarities. I did my apprenticeship for four years and then soon moved in to all that consulting and to do the electrical engineering side. But there were certain aspects I could definitely whilst I was learning that could fall on the practical knowledge to create buildable designs.

What are your current and future plans?

I'm just finishing my Master's degree in Building Services Engineering and I should hopefully finish that this summer. And then after that, I'll be focusing on my application to become a chartered engineer.

What advice would you give someone who was looking at following in your footsteps into electrical engineering?

You've got two roads, you can go and do the full time courses. There's nothing wrong with that. Do the full time course straight from school and then go to a full time university course, but always consider that there is apprenticeships available. One day learning, four days out on site or in an office where you can talk and communicate to already trained professionals and piggyback onto that knowledge a little bit. That was does offer great advantages to developing you faster as an engineer.

PathFinders is a Morson original series uncovering squiggly career journeys, unexpected opportunities, professional pivots, work/life challenges & successes, to showcase that there is no such thing as a ‘typical career path’. Click here to view our series