Mentoring for


Tim Lewis

Jamie Findler

You’ll learn about how to provide feedback, and so help your mentee produce reports without planting your own ideas in there. As the trainer said, ‘It’s about pulling or drawing ideas out of your mentee rather than suggesting information.’ That’s a really intelligent way to look at it.

Verified by an engineer

Jamie Findler works at Ansaldo Nuclear Ltd’s premises in Wolverhampton . His previous experience was in the industrial vehicle sector, working for companies such as JCB, LiuGong Europe and Don-Bur. This is his first foray into the nuclear industry. “I am really happy with the move, it’s been fantastic. I am an M4 engineer, which is a level that is pretty unique to Ansaldo. It’s probably equivalent to a Principal Engineer in a less safety-critical industry.

“Ansaldo is a one-stop shop for the vast majority of items associated with nuclear facilities, such as shield doors” says Jamie, 36. “One of our main customers is Sellafield and we also do a lot of work with submarines, offering servicing and support.”

It’s a varied role, which Jamie relishes. “We are often working on multiple projects, for different countries and we have some nice projects in the pipeline. That can mean we are in a massively heavy design phase where every man and his dog is desperately trying to get drawings, or you are working on projects that are ten years away before you can win them. I transitioned into tendering recently, which is complex with project timelines of 70 or 80 years. You’ve got to think so far ahead. It’s interesting work.”


Why the Mentoring for MPDS course?

“When I started working aged 18, I was a bit intimidated. I began as a tea boy at a local company, Don-Bur, which built trucks. I was making tea and doing the filing, but in my spare time I taught myself SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, and I was changing 2D drawings into 3D models for the engineers and the like. At the same time, I took a foundation course at Staffordshire University to get a BSc. A few years later, I took an MSc in Professional Engineering at the University of Derby, again while working, quite literally to get into the IMechE.

“So, I’ve come up through an unconventional route to where I am today. When I was starting out, the IMechE had such a good reputation but it felt out of reach. It was what I was aspiring to. Now, I have progressed and I am Chartered, I believe I can help young engineers.

“I feel I know how to communicate with people but, us engineers, we’re quite an awkward bunch, aren’t we? I think back to what I was like in my mid-20s and I knew nothing! I never had an official mentor in my career. I wanted to take this course to see how I could do things better, correct anything I was doing wrong and gain more insight into how to become a more effective mentor.

“You’ve got to make sure young engineers are getting the training, education and help they need, otherwise they end up being treated like a number. The mentoring process is really important – and I wanted to learn how to do that properly.”

What was your experience of the course?

“It was a full day’s course held at our Wolverhampton office, for about ten of our people. I’d been at the company for about 18 months, so it was good opportunity to meet people and network, as well as learn. It wasn’t just engineers but senior staff, as well. The trainer, Mick Davis, was very good at going round the room asking questions, so it didn’t matter what level someone was at in the company.

“We had good, frank discussions about what everyone expects from mentoring and what they are doing. It’s one of the reasons I prefer in-person rather than remote courses – I’m pretty easy going and happy to talk but I think in-person courses help those who are a little shy and encourage dialogue.

“Mick took us through presentations with a few videos, but there was also a lot of team building and discussion. We would be given a group or an individual task, and it really made you think. This wasn’t a ‘This is how you do mentoring’ course; it was more of a ‘What have you been thinking about when you are mentoring?’ course. I think that’s the more important part because it’s trying to draw an idea out of you on how you can do things better.

“I got a lot out of this course. It was a really collaborative way of working and it was very interesting.”

What are the key reasons someone should attend Mentoring for MPDS?

1 “Meeting the UK-SPEC (UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence) to ensure I could become Chartered was a really big one. For me, the course was worth it for that on its own.”

2 “You’ll learn about how to provide feedback, and so help your mentee produce reports without planting your own ideas in there. As the trainer said, ‘It’s about pulling or drawing ideas out of your mentee rather than suggesting information.’ That’s a really intelligent way to look at it.”

3 “You’ll get useful tips on the organisational side of mentoring. For example, to provide a timely assessment of a report, aim for two weeks turnaround. Just try to stick to that hard and fast rule, and you’ll be okay. If it’s a month, you’re slacking a little bit. So, give yourself a good two weeks and stick to it.”

What’s been the impact?

“I have definitely improved as a mentor and my developing engineer will absolutely benefit from me taking the course. For me, it was all about, ‘How can I do better?’ I’m fortunate as my developing engineer is proactive and we meet up quite often, so we can make the most of what I’ve learned.

“One of the most important things for me – and I think a lot of people on the course felt the same way – was that in your first year after graduating, hitting the UK-SPEC isn’t as critical as you feel it is at the time. That first year should be a settling-in period in your new role at a new company.

“Instead, young engineers feel they’ve got to smash the UK-SPEC targets as hard as they can. For these young engineers so early in their careers, that’s daunting. They’re not managing projects. They’re not managing people. They are not even wholly responsible for design most of the time. Understanding that can take that the pressure off. Then, anything that they do hit is a bonus. That was massive to be honest. Keeping that in mind really helped me refocus on what I am prioritising – which is to help my developing engineer settle in and find their way.”

Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees

1 “Before the day itself, I’d suggest attendees consider how they were failing as a mentor. Failure seems like a strong word, but it’s about not being afraid of self-reflection. It’s one of the reasons why I went – I was looking forward to learning what I’d been getting wrong and where I could do better.”

2 “Think about how you approach giving advice because, as engineers, we want to fix things. I say this with 20:20 hindsight! As a mentor, ‘fixing things’ isn’t what everyone’s looking for. You are there to support them personally and help them grow. After all, they have a line manager to help them on the engineering side.”

3 “If you’re lacking motivation to be a mentor, this course will give you a good injection of energy. It will give you a new way of looking at the subject.”

What’s next?

“Mentoring is a good chance to give back and to try to encourage young developing engineers. I’m here to do a job as an engineer, to design things that work properly and don’t fall apart. But, in my opinion, after that, the most important focus is the graduates and the apprentices. I’m very keen to continue mentoring and I’d like to take on a second mentee, if possible.

“When I was younger, my ambition was to get into the IMechE. That’s the truth! That was always my target. One day, I’d like to become an engineering director or chief engineer. I want to be the best engineer I can be – always trying to learn, to progress and to grow.”

Mentoring for MPDS

  • Duration:
    1 day
  • Location
    Sheffield, London, Glasgow, Bristol, Virtual classroom
  • CPD Hours:
  • UK-Spec:
    C, E