Want to learn from those with a real knowledge of working life in industry? Come and talk to our instructors. They’ve been there and got the T-shirt. That’s why we call them our NETA experts. In the latest of our series of interviews, meet Ian Wells.
“It is that sense of achievement you get, of something going from an idea to having it physically in front of you and it doing the job.”
A fascination for how things work seems to be a common trait among our NETA experts.
Take Ian Wells for example, a mechanical instructor and assessor, his career has been driven by a keen interest in “making stuff”.
“Anything mechanical I would take to bits to see how it works and then put it back together,” he said.
Lucky for him, he’s pretty good at it, and so making stuff has been the cornerstone of his career.
From producing batteries for appliances to making pistons for Formula One, his 40 years in industry has been pretty varied. Ian even worked on engine components for the Lancaster Bomber.
He reckons that’s the beauty of engineering, once you know your stuff you apply that knowledge to the job at hand, whatever that may be. He describes it as “the language of engineering”.
A mechanical fitter and time served toolmaker, Ian completed two apprenticeships after leaving school.
Whatever he has achieved since then, from making those first tools – many he still has today – to working as a Head of Engineering, the best bit remains the same.
“Turning that design on a piece of paper into something real and seeing it go from a concept into something useful,” he said.
It is that same enthusiasm he now instils into those he trains.
He said: “It is that sense of achievement you get, of something going from an idea to having it physically in front of you and it doing the job.”
As a NETA instructor of 10 years, first in design and now mechanical fitting, Ian enjoys seeing his students share that same sense of satisfaction.
“You see their knowledge and skills develop over the years as they turn into professionals, and that is a joy to see,” he said.
Worked on: Batteries for appliances and consumer products, pistons supplied to the likes of Honda, Nissan and Toyota, actuators for airbags, thermal insulated cable and paint curing equipment for the automotive industry, to name but a few.