In our latest careers interview blog, CREATE Ambassador Steve Cox tells us about how the uses 3D printing in his current role and about the career path that has led him into this field.

Steve currently works in the 3D digital technologies industry running his own 3D printing consultancy and training business, AMFORi.

About Your Education

What subject areas/qualifications did you study for?

I have a honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Loughborough University.

Did you have to undertake any further training during your career in order to progress into your current role?

I attended lots of training courses in lots of different subjects when I worked in the automotive industry, but the most powerful training you get in engineering is the everyday experience you gain.

About Your Career

Tell us a little bit about your career leading up to your current role?

I worked at Jaguar Cars (which eventually became Jaguar Land Rover) for over 30 years, and whilst I was there I had some amazing experiences designing and testing new vehicles. The overall highlight was being able to point at a Jaguar or Land Rover vehicle on the road and proudly say that I’d played a part in designing, engineering, testing and making it.

My role now involves using some amazing, and very exciting, 3D technologies and often involves showing people what they are able to do. The incredible reaction that you get when you show what these technologies are capable of is definitely the highlight of what I do now.

About Your Current Role

Briefly describe your current role, what do you do?

I’d describe myself as a 3D Technologies Consultant and Educator.

The consultancy part of my job involves using 3D product creation tools and 3D printing to help bring other people’s ideas and concepts to life.

The education part of my role involves showing people what these 3D technologies are capable of, and training them how to use them so that they can make the most of the opportunities they provide.

What skills do you need for your role?

I very much rely on all of the skills and experience that I gained from my apprenticeship, my degree studies and my time in industry as an engineer. I would say that the main skills I use are problem-solving (which is a lot of what engineering is about), an analytical approach to
things, and clear communication.

What do you enjoy about your role?

The variation that it has. I do a lot of different things, which makes no two days the same! Also people’s reaction to the work I do for them, or the new skills that they have learned in my training sessions, gives you a great sense of satisfaction.

What salary range can you expect to achieve in this role?

I’m self-employed now so I don’t receive a salary, but what I would say is that engineering can be a very well-paid job, especially if you do well in it.

Do you have any further career aspirations or plans?

The world of technology is moving extremely fast, so it’s my aim to keep right up-to- date with the new technologies that are emerging in digital designing and digital manufacturing so that i’m able to keep helping people to see the opportunities that lie ahead of us.

About 3D Printing

What benefits does the use of 3D Printing bring to your role and/or organisation?

I am able to produce people’s designs firstly as a digital 3D model which I can then turn into a physical version using 3D printing. This can then be used as a demonstration model, a prototype for testing, or in some cases as a final “end-use” part.

How do you feel the future of your industry will benefit from 3D Printing?

The opportunities that lie ahead are not just in the way we can 3D print, but probably more importantly, what we can 3D print with. The development of new 3D printing materials, methods and techniques is moving at such a rate that we’ve only just seen the start of
what it will be capable of.

One way of thinking about 3D printing is “The Future Is Ours To Make”.

How can our education system best prepare our young people for job roles of the future in your field?

Technology is moving so fast that careers may exist in the near future that don’t exist today which makes this question quite difficult to answer.
I would say though that whatever happens in this field that you will always need an enquiring mind, a desire to keep learning new skills, have an analytical approach to things, be a problem-solver and a clear communicator. Though all of those are great “life-skills” that will serve you well in whatever field you choose to go into.

Finally…

What advice would you offer to students that may be interested in pursuing a career in this field?

Engineering is becoming a much more valued profession now, especially as there will be a significant predicted shortage of skilled engineers in the years to come. I would definitely encourage anyone who enjoys making things to consider engineering as a career, for which you need to get good grades in maths and the sciences. But, what you need most, is to be really interested in making things and in the process solving problems for people with new products and ideas.

The CREATE Education Project would like to thank Steve Cox for sharing the details of his career with us. You can learn more about Steve and AMFORi at:

http://www.amfori.com/

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