George Stewart

George Stewart, Apprentice Radiotherapy Engineer, has recently stepped up his career in Engineering by achieving the status of Engineering Technician (EngTech) at the age of 20, accredited through IPEM. George joined IPEM as an Associate member in the summer of 2016 and hopes to enrol on the IPEM Clinical Technology Training Scheme at the next available opportunity.

George’s educational career began with studying A-Levels in his local area 6th form, Hazel Grove Stockport, with a view to entering the Engineering Industry. After completing his A-Levels, George decided to pursue his goal of becoming an Engineer. This is when George started in his current job role of Apprentice Radiotherapy Engineer at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. He chose the Apprenticeship route as he wanted to ensure he learned both academic, but also practical, skills including how to effectively use hand tools, along with other factors such as fault finding and other work based skills. Both George’s parents have worked in the NHS and he says the feeling of helping others, makes for a much more rewarding career than standard engineering.

Whilst attending college on a day release basis, George has been working alongside more qualified engineers at the Christie, gaining valuable experience and working on a range of equipment such as: Varian and Elekta Linear Accelerators, Brachytherapy Afterloaders, CT scanners, Xstrahl skins unit and, in more recent times, Tympanic Thermometers and Dinamap patient monitoring devices.

George heard about EngTech registration through his college, where a member of the IMechE came in to discuss the benefits of EngTech, especially in the area of personal development. Another, more experienced member of the engineering team at the Christie was in the process of applying for EngTech through IPEM and this prompted George to realise that in his current position, IPEM was the more relevant professional body in which to receive his EngTech accreditation. George spoke to his mentor at the Christie, who suggested George should apply. When discussing with college tutors, George was slightly disheartened by the opinion that he would not be experienced enough to receive accreditation. Undeterred, George and his mentor found that George was able to meet all of the EngTech criteria (outlined in the personal specification) and so he decided to create his portfolio of evidence. George is now very proud to say he has achieved his EngTech status and also that his portfolio is now used as the example by IPEM on the EngTech section of their website, pleasantly surprising his college tutors.

George encourages other young people to get into the career of Engineering and thinks more young engineers should apply for EngTech. Being in a college class of around 20 people, he is the only one to have worked towards, and achieved, EngTech status. To try and encourage other young engineers to apply and for more apprenticeships to be available in the Medical Engineering/Radiotherapy Engineering fields, George delivered a presentation to a group of Engineers from across the UK and the Nordics at a manufacturer user group meeting in front of around 80 people. He will also be writing an article for Scope magazine in the near future.

Achieving EngTech status has really helped George to cement his place in his current role and he feels it stands him in good stead for further career developments. It also proves to others in the profession that despite his young age he is a competent engineer who can be of value to an ever-changing engineering department at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.