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Owen Hughes, Manufacturing Technician
Physics, Mathematics & Space Science

Owen Hughes, Manufacturing Technician

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

Deciding to specialize in CNC and CAD/CAM.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

No one person has really influenced my direction. I have been lucky enough to have had some great advice from teachers, lecturers and peers along the way.

How did you go about getting your current job?

Regular production bored me. So I set about trying to find an area that would excite and inspire me. Luckily I found it.

Describe a typical day?

A typical day could involve many different processes, including production of hardware, some programming, inspection of finished parts and paperwork.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

The main tasks would include programming using a CAD/CAM software package, production of hardware using CNC machining and quality control based inspection of the finished hardware. You get to use a lot of different process tools.

What are the main challenges?

Every part has to finished to a very high standard, dimensional and visual non-conformances are not acceptable. Also identifying trends during the machining process which would help contribute towards continuous improvement.

What's cool?

Everything that I make goes into space, it's nice to know your own contribution to every launch is so valuable. Developing a new manufacturing process is pretty cool too.

What's not so cool?

Long production times and paperwork can be a bit boring sometimes.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

You need a lot of patience and a serious eye for detail. Programming and machining of hardware can be quite demanding. They can be irregular parts made from unusual material with very tight tolerances.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Physics, Maths, Engineering, Technical Drawing. As well as English, Irish, and German.

What is your education to date?

Completed the Standards Based Apprenticeship, collecting an apprentice of the year along the way. A multitude of City & Guilds courses also completed.

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Physics, Maths, Engineering and Technical Drawing certainly helped shape my aptitude and understanding of engineering processes.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Every successful launch is quite rewarding. The hardware is complex and the materials used can be tricky to work with, so knowing that you have improved a process where everyone around you benefits is also very rewarding.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

An open mind towards change is very useful, there is always something new to learn. Patience is a key quality also.

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

It does. Always room for improvement!

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

It can be challenging, but very rewarding. Choose subjects and coursework carefully.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Patience, attention to detail and a good attitude.

Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

You never stop learning. Training and coursework are vital aspects of my job. Technology changes quickly, so you always have to be prepared to learn something new.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

A company specializing in precision engineering would be a good introduction.

What is your current job title?

Manufacturing Technician at Moog, Space Access and Exploration, Dublin.

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