Polar research vessel and Paul’s family ties inspire the next generation
Merseyside shipyard and marine engineering services company Cammell Laird is inspiring the next generation of engineers by showcasing its work on polar research vessel the Sir David Attenborough.
The shipbuilder, based in Birkenhead, paid a visit to Liverpool John Moores University to speak to PhD students on a marine design engineering course.
The talk was arranged on the request of a student who had previously visited the shipyard and believed course mates could benefit from seeing real-life examples of their course material.
Paul Coles, technical manager at Cammell Laird, visited the university to give a presentation on the work on the Sir David Attenborough, starting from when the business received a scope of work document detailing the customer’s requirements for the ship.
He showed them how the vessel started to take shape and how a requirement change can impact on everything else.
Paul said: “The Sir David Attenborough is an exciting thing to talk about because people have seen it in some way, whether that’s while it’s been being built or on television when the royal family came to launch it. It brings to life everything they’ve learned on their course and shows them what can be achieved in a very visual way.”
The end of the session saw Paul take some questions from the group, with many interested to hear about his progression within the business. He joined Cammell Laird as an apprentice mechanical fitter in 1986, leaving briefly but returning more than a decade ago. His involvement with the shipyard goes even further than that, however. His grandad was a pattern maker with the business and his dad, who was also technical manager, met his telephonist mum while at work. Paul recalled to the students one of his early memories of the yard at the age of seven.
He said: “My dad brought me in on a Saturday morning and his boss was there in his office, which had a massive wooden desk with a big green leather chair behind it. I remember sitting in the chair and being spun around and looking out of the window to see the basin. When I became technical manager, I had that exact same view from my office.
“My mum was a flower girl at the launch of M.V. Siglion. I’m not exactly sure how many generations of our family have worked here but our family has Cammell Laird written right through, like a stick of rock.”
His talk was so inspiring that the business has already received a CV from one of the students interested in a future at Cammell Laird.
“It’s important to show the opportunities available in engineering and if we can get people interested in engineering we can start to address the skill shortages in the industry,” Paul added.