Fostering the Talent of Tomorrow

It is always great when as a company we can give back a little to the communities we are based in. At our Torquay facility we have strong track record of engaging with and enthusing young people today to becoming the engineers of tomorrow. We were pleased then, to able to take part in the Techbay event on Friday 11 November at the Riveria Centre, Torquay.

Over 300 young people from 10 schools and colleges across South Devon attended Techbay, organized by Torbay Council and South Devon College as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, celebrating the first year of the MADE (Manufacturing Activities Designed to Engage) initiative. Gooch & Housego’s involvement as one of 25 companies was to show how science and technology studied at school can translate to a career in engineering.

We took a team of six to the event including photonics systems engineers Pete Kean and Ross Elliott from the Systems Technology Group (STG) who were able to give young people advice and answer practical questions about working in photonics engineering. The students were very engaged and asked a variety of questions relating to working time, job activities and career and salary prospects. The feedback we got was that students really valued the opportunity to try to understand how science in the classroom can lead to rewarding employment.

G&H Apprentices
Apprentices Amber Pursey and Harry Wiltcher on the stand at Techbay

We also had an exhibition stand where our apprentices, Amber Pursey, Ben Marchant and Harry Wiltcher, were able to offer students the challenge of manipulating a visible laser light and positioning it onto a detector. The rig set up allowed students to gain a basic practical understanding of beam profiles by actively adjusting several axes of the fiber. G&H staff and the students were able to discuss the 2D and 3D shape when the light was being clipped by an object; building on the light theory they were learning in school physics classes. The demonstration gave students an insight into the level of precision required when building photonics systems and components.

G&H’s support of MADE was not only limited to Techbay however. We were able to present our first student on the Industrial Cadet work experience scheme, Ollie Hemus, with a certificate for having completed his week’s internship. Ollie, in his final year at Brixham College, joined us at our Torquay factory for a week over the summer, working with a number of our staff in different areas of the company including sales, procurement, engineering and manufacturing. We gave him the objective of specifying, designing and building a product to split a photonic signal. It was a tough challenge for a young person still at college but Ollie rose to it and presented his work to senior managers and a representative from MADE at the end of his week. Ollie was asked to give a short presentation on his week because G&H had been selected as a shining example of a successful project.

Ollie Hemus and Steve Rider
Ollie Hemus and G&H (Torquay) Operations Director Steve Rider with the module Ollie created

Further to this, we’re happy to announce that Amber Pursey has been nominated for the Semta Apprentice of The Year award for 2017. This is a UK national award that will be given to an apprentice who has seized the training and development opportunities presented to them during their apprenticeship program and who has made the most significant contribution to support the business activities of their employer.

Part of our mission is to be the technology leader in all of our markets and to reinforce this position every day with the clients we work with and the projects we enable. In order to do this we need the best engineers. We are happy to work with our communities to nurture local talent.

Our Torquay facility is the home of the Fiber-Q® (our award winning fiber-coupled acousto optic modulator) and our HI-REL couplers for undersea and space. It’s also where we develop and manufacture advanced systems and components for challenging applications in extreme environments and for ophthalmic and cardiological OCT.