Career profiles

Career profile - Senior Manager

“I always joked that I would go from Apprentice to Director…but I did. Much of this is due to the opportunities fusion has presented to me.”


Apprenticeship, then a BSc in Mechanical Engineering – sponsored by my employer for part-time study at Oxford Polytechnic.

What was your career path and how did you come to work at CCFE?

I was a Harwell Apprentice from 1975 to 1979, as an instrument maker. On completion, I moved to Culham and worked on various fusion devices as instrument maker/ fitter. While doing my degree at Oxford, I became a technician and moved to JET Plasma Systems Division working in the neutral beam testbed. In 1987 on completion of the degree I moved to the Engineering Group as a professional engineer. I gradually worked my way up through Section Leader and Group Leader roles, until I became Head of the Engineering Department. Along the way I have held other posts such as Deputy Chief Engineer and Engineer in Charge. I take a close interest in training to ensure others get the same kind of opportunities – I helped CCFE to set up its apprentice and graduate training schemes and gain membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology's Power Academy.

What is your current role?

Operations Director – I have responsibility for all business operation at Culham and line manager responsibility for the majority of staff via nine Department Managers who report to me. This is a varied role with no two days the same! Decisions sometimes need to be taken quickly and with little background information; this requires a solid knowledge of the business and some gut feel.

Why do you enjoy working in fusion research?

I have enjoyed every role I have held at Culham, moving on only to find greater challenges. I always joked that I would go from Apprentice to Director… but I did, and much of this is due to the opportunities fusion has presented to me and the people I have worked with, and for the fact that over the years, no one ever said "you can't do that". I was always supported in taking the next step.

What do you like about working at CCFE?

The people, the challenges, the chance to shape the future of the organisation and maybe energy production for mankind! Not many jobs give you these opportunities; I feel privileged to have contributed in some small way.

How does CCFE encourage career development?

I have been encouraged all the way through my career to work towards what I wanted and that there are no limits to what I can achieve. I try and do the same for others and get a real kick out of seeing others succeed, especially if I have played a part in their development.