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  • Writer's pictureBen R

Staff Spotlight: Phil Iball

We took the time to sit down with Phil, our latest project consultant to get his thoughts on starting out on a new career path and changing industry:

1) What educational path did you follow to get to where you are now?

“After my A-levels I chose to study mechanical engineering at the University of Portsmouth over a four-year period which included a foundation year. The foundation year was key in my personal development because it is when I decided I wanted to pursue mechanical engineering in my future. After completing my undergraduate degree in Portsmouth, I enrolled onto the Advanced Mechanical Engineering Science (AMES) master’s course at the University of Southampton and successfully received my Postgraduate qualification in September 2022. As I (amongst many people) were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since graduation, I was fortunate to have been contacted by P3M Works early 2023 as there was an interest in my engineering background and how it was a great fit into the company’s plans for growth and my own personal development. After talking to the team and understanding how P3M Works would support my plans for professional development and their network into the engineering industry, I decided to take the leap and accept their offer!

2) What did you enjoy most about your courses during your time at university?

“Studying mechanical engineering I had the opportunity to learn about many different topics at an increasing technical complexity, but my interest and passion was for engineering materials - learning about the microscopic structure of metals or the failure mechanics of composite materials and everything in between. I also enjoyed being out of my comfort zone as I worked on group projects and was relied upon to complete tasks and deliverables within a team.”

3) How do you stay motivated in a new industry?

“As a person who enjoys learning and picking up new skills, it didn’t feel unnatural to develop new skills and a new way of thinking for an industry that is very different to engineering. I’m lucky that within a start-up like P3M Works, I have colleagues who are very supportive and patient as they help guide and foster my growth as I transition into this new industry.”

4) Is it possible to apply what you've learnt as an Engineer into project management/ cyber security? 

“Yes, definitely. As the initial panic of starting my first professional job has started to fade and my confidence increasing, I can start to see how the life of a mechanical engineer is largely based around problem solving. I have recognised that a part of project management is understanding that projects and tasks may not always go to plan, and a solution is required to resolve such issues – quite similar to engineering projects. I’ve also understood the importance of time management and distributed workloads within a team, this is also a large part of engineering but in a different context.

A potential difficulty is the difference in communications as going through my engineering degree’s, comms was always kept short, but I’m learning to develop my communication skills necessary for client engagement and management”

 5) What has been the most challenging/ interesting thing you've learnt on your career path?

“The most challenging concept that I have come to realise after the initial months of starting with P3M Works is that I have invested a large portion of my life studying towards a career in engineering, and that’s not to say that will never come to be, but learning a new way of thinking on top of how I’ve developed my technical approaches is quite difficult to come to grips with.

A big challenge I had to face when joining P3M Works was being given the responsibility to run the internal sprint meetings every week. It requires me to interact with the team and gain an understanding of how their tasks are progressing which put me out of my comfort zone of steering those conversations and pressing the team to get answers.

The most interesting thing I’ve learnt since joining P3M Works aside from the all the project management and cyber security knowledge, is the confidence I have in myself to tackle an industry that is new to me and not give up. ”

“Another interesting thing I’ve learnt since starting at P3M Works is how a company operates on the day-to-day basis and what happens in the background for business operates. Observing how a team (outside engineering) communicates and work together was something I found intriguing as I hadn’t been in that type of professional business environment before.”

5) What advice would you give someone who wants to enter a completely new industry?

“The most important piece of advice is to be confident in yourself and the work you do, that way you can get rid of the doubt that might worry you at work. It’s always important to ask questions because resolving an issue sooner rather than later could save you a lot of time. Don’t be shy to use your intuition to first tackle anything given to you and to come up with a solution to present – even if you’re miles off, you’ll learn from this and iterate onto the next! Always try and find those transferable skills that you may already have and look for ways to adapt or develop them to fit the new industry you work in. A lot of companies offer training courses for many different qualifications that can help your professional development.”

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