Professional development - Profile: Daniel Edwards, Laboratory Technician

Materials World magazine
5 Nov 2013
Daniel Edwards

Daniel Edwards, Laboratory Technician at Mettis Aerospace Ltd, UK,
talks about his daily tasks and what's important to him in a job.

What does your job involve?

My current role is largely based around mechanical testing, including
Izod impact, room temperature tensile, bend and fracture toughness
tests. It’s a mix of hands-on tasks often flanked by calculation and
paperwork. Occasionally, I also assist with machining and basic
metallurgical work.

What is a typical day like?

I get into work, set up at my desk and, particularly vital, fill the
kettle. Once the shift starts I’ll work with my supervisor to see what
needs doing. I typically focus on fracture toughness, so I usually take
the machined specimens and start preparing them for testing. Once
measured and marked out, I’ll then pre-crack and fracture the samples.
This continues throughout the day, although I also assist with other
testing and machining as necessary – that, and trying to help out with
organising work flow when I can.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Doing new things is the most exciting part for me. This can be something
as simple as a different kind of testing or other operation that I
haven’t encountered before. I thoroughly enjoy taking things apart, so I
am always intrigued by any kind of equipment maintenance. More than
anything, I like the industry and enjoy knowing where each part is going
and where my work fits in.

What is the biggest challenge currently facing your industry?

I think the most significant challenge in the coming years will probably
be materials shortages and problems with the supply chain.

How important is knowledge of materials science to your work?

I’m currently studying for a BTEC in Mechanical Engineering and plan to
continue on to a Higher National Certificate in Materials Science. As my
company pushes forward to doing new, more complex tests and expands its
range of equipment, my knowledge of materials science is becoming more
and more important. Anything I don’t pick up at college or on the job I
make an effort to research in my own time. I find this helps me stay
confident at work.

What advice would you give to new entrants to the field?

My advice is simply to find a field you enjoy and a good company to work
for. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as enjoying your day-today
job, and having a supportive and encouraging company behind you makes it
all the sweeter. Enjoy your work – it’s more important than you think.


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