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Boys Learn More About Engineering Options

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Old Boy Ali Kapasi (Class of 2009) spoke to Year 9 pupils via Zoom about his engineering career so far. After leaving Bolton School, Ali studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, followed by five years in the oil and gas industry and one as a liability engineer in the chemical industry before moving to his current role as a safety engineer at Babcock. He is also a Chartered Engineer.

He began by looking back at his school days and the careers aptitude test that first pointed him in the direction of engineering. However, when applying to university, he didn’t know which discipline to go into and therefore chose mechanical engineering to keep his options as open as possible.

He reassured the audience that finding and pursuing a passion is not necessarily the most important thing: ‘There’s a lot of pressure to figure out what you want to do right now and that’s what you’ll be working on for your whole career, but there’s always the opportunity to change what you do in the future.’

Ali went on to say that university for him was more about developing a future-proofed skillset and encouraged the boys to do the same. He also encouraged those interested in engineering to develop their coding and programming skills and said that in order to succeed in engineering, genuine curiosity is needed. He also recommended researching any field the boys might want to go into to make sure there are long-term prospects.

Explaining more about his role, Ali said that being a safety engineer involves making sure that risks are mitigated as much as possible and ensuring that everything complies with the latest legislation. He talked about the challenges of lockdown, work-life balance and his hopes to visit the submarines and boats he is working on at some point in the future. This gave the boys a great insight into one of the many jobs available under the umbrella of engineering.

The question and answer session that followed allowed Ali to speak in more detail about some of the topics brought up in his talk. He elaborated on chartership and how it is achieved, apprenticeship routes into engineering and how much money engineers earn, as well as discussing the hardest parts of his job and what he enjoys about it.

His final piece of advice to students was that choosing the right industry to go into is the most important thing, but also reminded them that the choices they are making now aren’t final, as there is always the opportunity to change their minds.

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