The trainer contacted us beforehand and tailored the course to our needs. That was incredibly useful. He was so knowledgeable and he could answer any question.
Verified by an engineer
Edward graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sussex with a First-Class Honours Master’s Degree. Though born in Cambridge, Edward has lived in Jersey since he was two. He left the island to go to university but has since returned, to work for Jersey Water as a water treatment works technician. Jersey Water supplies and manages all potable water on the island, which it draws mostly from reservoirs and streams, occasionally topping up supplies through desalination. Aged 23, Edward’s responsibilities include the operation and maintenance of raw water resources, pumping stations, treatment works, the island’s desalination plant and other associated works.
Why the Pump Systems course?
“Working in the water industry, there is obviously pipework everywhere – not just for moving water around but also for adding the chemicals that are used to treat water to ensure it is fit for consumption. The pipes range from standard one-inch diameter piping to large valves 18-21 inches across, transferring water across our networks. What’s crucial is understanding where losses are in the system, from all the different types of pumps to the pipework itself. That was one of the reasons I chose this course.
“I am also keen to achieve chartered status with the IMechE. I graduated just over a year ago and I find myself missing the academic life – I just love learning. So, studying pumps and pump systems with the IMechE was a great opportunity to revisit the academic side, while also building up my CPD points.
“I did look at courses from other suppliers but the IMechE was the only place I could find that offered this type of course. My manager, who is a Chartered Engineer and member of the IMechE, had already taken this course and he highly recommended it. Jersey Water could see the value in me attending the course and funded it – they have said they will definitely be able to use the knowledge I have gained.”
What was your experience of the course?
“The numbers are restricted on the courses – we had seven of us, so it was almost like one-to-one tuition. The course leader, Alex Yates, contacted us all beforehand to find out what industry we were in, what was our role, where we were based and so on – and then tailored the course to our needs. It was incredibly useful. He was so knowledgeable and he could answer any question – I reckon he could have delivered the course without any preparation! You could see he just loves his job.
“I was the only person from the water industry – the others were from the nuclear industry, the agrochemical sector and the Royal Navy (working on nuclear-powered submarines). One of the Navy chaps bought in a particular issue he was facing, which the trainer was able to examine and suggest solutions to. It was fascinating to hear the different stories from other industries.
“We were given a workbook and the trainer took us through it in sections, along with him presenting certain sections on PowerPoint – graphs, pump curves and that kind of thing. At the end of a section, we’d work through case studies on our own or with others, and then have a discussion. I like being taught the theory but I need examples as well to make the connection and understand it, so the format was perfect for me.”
What are the key reasons someone should attend the Pump Systems course?
- If you need a bit of a refresher on pump systems, this course is ideal. The trainer would take questions at any time and could answer them straight away
- My degree course didn’t cover different types of pumps and pump systems. I’m not sure many do. Working in the water industry, it’s really important for me to have that knowledge
- Everything was nailed to a T: the course content, the trainer, even the Bento boxes we got for lunch! I can honestly say it was fantastic.
What’s been the impact?
“The main learning for me was that, when there is a problem, it’s very rarely the pump. By that, I mean that much of the course was about losses in pumps and people will always blame the pump. But, pumps are designed to work in specific areas, at specific temperatures, with specific viscosities and, if they stay within those limits, things will normally be fine. But if operators push the pumps outside those limits – and they do all the time – that’s when the problems start. So it’s not the pumps, it’s the people!
“When you are looking at losses in a system, it’s not just flow rates out of the pump. You’ve got to look at valves, diffusers, corners and bends to see where pressure might drop and then see if the pump is being pushed outside of its limits to accommodate that. For me, that was fascinating – people might blame the pump but look elsewhere first.”
Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees
- Refresh any knowledge you have around the subject before attending. I went through my old fluid mechanics university notes beforehand
- Be ready to listen and learn – and ask questions! The trainers really are experts
- Bring a problem you are facing along to the course. I didn’t do that, but I wish I had.
“At the moment, I am more on the plant operation side rather than engineering. I hope to move into an engineering role soon. Taking courses like this one will, hopefully, help me move towards that. I also want to become a chartered member of the IMechE. Enrolling in more courses like this – I had already attended the Pumping fundamentals and Pump selection courses– and gaining more CPD points will help me achieve that.”