College didn’t suit Barney, nor did the engine re-manufacturing work he did afterwards. But his technical skills and willingness to learn eventually led him to a career he loves.

The turning point was when he found a job in industrial manufacturing. “That’s when I realised I prefer making things to fixing them”.

He is now a Design and Technical Services Manager working with post-graduates and academics on research projects into aerodynamics for Rolls-Royce.

It’s the culmination of a lifetime obsession that began (as so often) with Lego. It was fostered in his dad’s machine shop where he burnt his fingers helping build model steam engines.

For someone in such a high-level technical role, he acknowledges, many people are surprised that he has no formal engineering training. “I made my way through aptitude and willingness. That’s the key. If you’re genuinely interested you can always learn how”.

Click here to find out more about technician career opportunities at the University of Cambridge Engineering Department.

Barney - Career Pathway

  • 1999
    Finished school with10 GCSEs
  • 2000
    Studied a College National Diploma in Motor Vehicle Engineering
  • 2005
    Cambridge Vacuum Engineering – Mechanical Technician
  • 2008
    Moved to University of Cambridge Engineering Department as a Senior Mechanical Technician
  • 2010
    Chief Mechanical Technician
  • 2016
    Design and Technical Services Manager

Stats - Mechanical Technician

Average Salary


Employment Statuses

Full Time Employed: 34,360
Part Time Employed: 6,902
Self Employed: 1,725
Total Employed: 42,987

Gender Split

Male: 36,734
Female: 6,254

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Science, engineering and production technicians n.e.c.

Job holders in this unit group perform a variety of technical support functions not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 311: Science, Engineering and Production Technicians.



TRH, Beaconsfield


TRH, Oxford


TRH, Warwick

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