Graduate profile: Paul McPherson, Junior Design Engineer at Owen Mumford
In his formative years, Paul developed a passion for product design originated from his interest in designing his own creations during his time at school. With his mum and sister both working for pharmaceutical companies and with his interest in the engineering industry ever growing, medical engineering seemed like an ideal career choice for Paul.
Having graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a BSc in Product Design, he was eager to develop his engineering capabilities in the marketplace. The hard work paid off, leading him to the role he’s in today – Junior Design Engineer at medical device manufacturer, Owen Mumford Ltd.
Here, Paul describes his journey from being a student through to working life and why others should consider a career in engineering.
Why did you choose to study Product Design at Sheffield Hallam?
Design has always been an interest to me. At school, I chose to study a module in resistive materials and developed my own motorised go-kart which I really enjoyed. The project really opened the door to the world of engineering for me and I knew immediately that this was what I needed to pursue. I’ve always found it fascinating to see a product develop from design through to completion. It’s a very rewarding process.
I looked at many universities and courses throughout the country before I made the decision to study Product Design at Sheffield Hallam. The course was different as it not only focused on how to design a product, but also provided a view of how that product should work. I learned to produce robust engineering solutions from the bottom up. I knew this would challenge me as the course would develop hard engineering skills using maths and physics – two subjects I hadn’t studied since secondary school.
What course modules stood out for you?
Studying engineering at university opens you up to a multitude of creative opportunities. Whilst at Sheffield Hallam, I undertook a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) module, where I was introduced to the process of injection moulding. Learning this process at university was great as it gave me an opportunity to also learn more about 3D printing and silicone moulding processes. This module was useful for my interview at Owen Mumford as I was able to share my knowledge and understanding of plastics before joining the industry.
Tell us about your work placement
While it was great to learn the theory behind engineering in my course, I knew it was essential to get real world experience to develop my engineering ability. Whilst studying, I was fortunate to gain a one-year work placement at an engineering firm, Wallwork Heat Treatment Ltd, a company that administers a variety of heat treatments for increased component material properties. My experience in this role was invaluable to me. I was working in all areas of the company and serving as a quality engineer. Not only did I learn about material properties and metallurgy but I gained great experience working as part of a team. To gain such experience at an early stage in my career was a great benefit for me. It’s helped me get to where I am today.
How long have you been with Owen Mumford and how are you finding it?
I’ve been working at Owen Mumford for four months now and I feel I have been treated as a valuable member of the team since day one. I’ve had a range of opportunities to work across different projects that are both challenging and rewarding, especially when some of these have already incorporated some of my ideas and concepts. There is a strong support network here and I’m surrounded by individuals with a wealth of knowledge that I can benefit from. This helps me challenge my ideas and question how to make something better.
Any advice for budding engineers out there?
If you have a passion to work in a specific industry, my advice is to be tenacious and strive to take it on. You never know what it could lead to and what the outcome may be. Always be open to new experiences, be yourself and the rest will follow.