My name is Tom Hamer and I’m a technician at the department of engineering at the University College London. I will make and design prototypes for students research work, research work with in side the department and outside the department.
I was around 14 years old and my father was a technician here as well and I became very interested in the work. I was always curious of how things were made and designed so I started ask what he did and he said to me during the summer holidays, would you like to come up. I said Id love to. Then when I turned 16 I did my GCSEs come straight C’s and started a foundation modern apprenticeship but I never really enjoyed it. When I applied for it when I was in year 11, they said to me what would I like to do as an apprenticeship, and I said well mechanical engineering and they said yep that certainly we can do that for you and it became to the first week and they said that this foundation modern apprenticeship will be for plumbers and electricians only. So I resided to the fact that Id be able to do plumbing or electrical engine.. err plumbing or be an electrician for the rest of my life which was something that I wasn’t really interested in, but I did not know really where to go from there. So what I did was I started looking for jobs and a junior positions came available within the department I work in now and I applied for it and with my previous experience working with UCL and within the industry they accepted me and I’ve worked here since I was 16 now.
I think my dad was rather proud for taking a step into the family trade. He never pushed me but was always intrigued when I asked him could you show me how something worked.
School was very different, it was ok, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say I hated it either. It was the resistant materials, woodwork, metal work, graphic, anything that was practical and hands on that was me. So anything that I could design something or manufacture something that always took my interest. My mother had me very late on in life and she was a legal secretary right up until the time she had me and then retired from that point.
I’m engaged. My hobby at the moment is actually renovating my house so I’ve really got no time for other activities at the moment. I use to play golf; I am still a scout leader so I do devote my time to helping other people as well as my own interests outside.
At the beginning I was apprehensive because it was always stated that you would always have to talk to different types of people academics, professors, doctors down to first years, second years as well as outside contract work if people came in and asked for work to be done. It was daunting at first. At the moment I’ve just designed and finished a prototype for videophone which was a solar powered umbrella which would charge a mobile phone and boost a mobile phone signal. It’s predominately designed for festival goers. I’ve had to re-engineer an umbrella to accept circuitry work which our professors and doctors have designed. I’ve got to know a lot of the academic and the research work as well so I hoped it would naturally follow, that the air of progression would continue. Technician here is such a broad variation on the word. I mean it can be anyone really from that cleans test tubes in the laboratory to making intricate pieces of metal and plastic work. It could take you down many routes. I do know a few technicians within other universities that have actually gone on to become doctors and professors because they found it so intriguing that what research work they use to help with. So I mean the possibilities are endless with where you could progress to.