Hot Young Engineer Wants Ethical Energy Switch To Safeguard Our Future
Engineering student Thomas Bretherton took part in the Wind Power Summer School in Denmark
Thomas Bretherton is a fourth year mechanical engineering student at the University of Leeds.
Last summer, he took part in a student exchange program at the Wind Power Summer School at Aarhus University in Denmark. The course was provided by Siemens and Vestas and involved a tour of their wind turbine manufacturing facilities.
The ambitious engineer, who previously interned at Network Rail, wants to work in the energy industry at the cutting edge of design and technology.
What inspired you to study engineering at the University of Leeds?
I wanted to apply science in a practical rather than theoretical sense. I like the way engineering relies on people skills and working together in a team to carry a project towards completion.
Leeds is very high up in the rankings and it has excellent facilities and teaching staff.
What do engineering students need to succeed?
Teamwork is number one. You need excellent communication skills, you need to be patient and you need to be technically minded.
How is your experience studying engineering at the University of Leeds?
It’s a lot of hard work but it is rewarding. You’ve really got to make an effort and get involved. It’s complex stuff but if you work at it, it will come to you.
At the moment I’m working on a report about the safety aspects of a car chassis. It’s a new area of engineering that I’m not used to, so it’s like teaching myself a whole new way of thinking.
Leeds offers a four year integrated masters course which I recommend. It’s such a vibrant city and a great place to be.
How was your experience studying in Denmark?
I was the only British guy there so it was great to meet lots of different people from around the world. There was a bit of a language barrier at first, but it was really good fun.
The Danish have a different, less traditional way of teaching with smaller classes and more class engagement. We had lectures on the principles of wind-power engineering from the actual people who built the turbines.
Where do you see the future of engineering?
In the UK there’s a lot of emphasis on renewable energy. We have great potential for wind power with consistently strong winds in some parts of the country.
There needs to be an ethical switch. We need to safeguard our future and become self-sustainable. We have to look for ways to make oil and gas more environmentally friendly and complement this with using renewable energy.
What do you hope to achieve as an engineer?
I hope to become a chartered engineer as soon as possible. I want to be involved in projects which benefit British culture and the public sector.
What’s in your university day-bag?
A lot of folders, a USB stick, calculator, pens, some sandwiches and a water bottle; this is essential, you need to stay hydrated!
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