15th July 2020
We’re really proud of our alumni and everything they have gone onto achieve since leaving NSCG. We love to keep in touch and find out what they’re up to. We caught up with Anthony Faulkner, Technical Services Manager for RBS Group to hear where life has taken him since studying engineering at NSCG.
Q: Tell us all about your career so far.
A: I started my career as an electrical apprentice with a local contracting company based in Stoke-on-Trent. After a few years of working as an approved electrician I decided it wouldn’t be me for the rest of my career, so at the age of 23, I went back to part-time Higher Education and completed an HNC in Electrical Engineering with NSCG.
I thoroughly enjoyed the learning and building new skills and competencies, from this I joined a new company who specialised in automation and controls – installing and maintaining fully automated manufacturing systems. I really enjoyed the automation engineer role, but ultimately decided power systems were always my real interest.
Today, I’m a Technical Manager for one of the most important critical data centre buildings in the UK and have the pleasure to support other engineers with a pathway like my own. Engineering can be such a challenging and rewarding career, providing a great sense of achievement and personal reward for anyone who is willing to work hard.
Q: How did you find school when you were younger?
A: I’ll be honest school was never my forte! At that age I never had the commitment or attention span to really succeed in an academic environment, I always had an aptitude for science and maths but didn’t put it to best use. Being much older and wiser, I would never encourage anyone to take this path but I will say don’t let your school results put you off wanting to succeed in life. We all make mistakes it’s how you can come back from them and learn which really makes the difference.
Q: Why did you choose to study at NSCG?
A: NSCG has a great reputation for delivery of HNC’s. They have many links with multinational engineering businesses, great workshop and lab facilities and a range of academic specialists. This together, leads to a high quality HNC and many improved skillsets for learners. When I enrolled with NSCG I was hoping this course would improve my knowledge and support my next career step, it certainly achieved both. I also made a couple of great friends that I’m still in contact with nearly 15 years later.
Q: How did you find returning to the classroom as an adult learner?
A: Being an adult learner normally comes with the extra time pressures, most have other commitments in life and it’s a real difficult balance to keep everything moving forward but I am so proud that I have managed to achieve my goals.
What I would say is, NSCG were extremely well organised with module delivery, provided clear timetables and tutor support, combined these measures really helped me when it came to schedule of work and meeting assignment or exam deadlines. At times I had to make several difficult decisions and a few personal sacrifices along the way, looking back it was most definitely worth the effort.
Q: What did you go onto to do after studying for your HNC?
A: I was already working in the industry before coming to NSCG to study for my HNC, but I really wanted to upskill and enhance my knowledge. Engineering has most definitely changed my life for the better and the HNC was at the early stages of this process, I’m also fortunate enough to have a skillset that can support my family and personal lifestyle. 20 years on in this industry and I wouldn’t want to change it. Most of my peers are of a similar opinion which as a whole speaks volumes for this career pathway and industry in general. After studying the HNC at NSCG, I went on to complete three further university degrees and a postgraduate certificate - you could argue it give me a thirst for knowledge and an awareness of how enjoyable learning can be.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
A: I decided to continue from my studies with NSCG and studied the part time BEng (Hons) Electrical Engineering and more recently PhD with Staffordshire University. I’ve received two awards from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) – one for my HNC final year project and the other for Undergraduate studies. I’m also proud to have received my Chartered Engineers registration in 2015. Anyone who has followed a similar pathway will know how much hard work this takes. I’m currently in my final year of a part time PhD Electrical Engineering course - it will be a significant personal reward to complete this during 2020.
I have been lucky enough to have some brilliant opportunities in my career. In 2018, I represented RBS Group at a global IEEE industry engineering conference in Portland, Oregon (USA) where I gave a presentation on power systems reliability and it’s application in data centres. I also had further work presented at the Baltimore conference in 2019. These were both great opportunities to collaborate with some of the world’s most renowned engineers and businesses including NASA, Microsoft, General Electric to name just a few.
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone looking get into engineering as a career?
A: My advice would be to utilise the resources available – I’ve met a fantastic number of professional engineers along the way and they’ve always been willing to help, join a number of local forums and working groups - don’t be afraid to ask questions. Work hard and it’s an industry with great rewards.
If you are inspired by Anthony’s career in engineering, visit our website to find out more about our engineering courses at NSCG.