Agnese: The motivation behind my initial career choice was a genuine curiosity to better understand the environmental and social impacts of traditional manufacturing practices.
During my first year at HSSMI, my perspective has evolved significantly. I’ve realized that sustainable manufacturing is not just about reducing environmental harm, but also about creating more efficient and socially responsible production processes. This involves embracing innovative technologies, implementing circular economy principles and working closely with interdisciplinary teams. I’ve come to appreciate the complexity of the field and the advantages that a sustainable manufacturing approach can have in terms of cost savings, market differentiation and the potential for long-term business success.
Joel: I have always been driven to sustainability ever since my engineering studies. I even did one of my master’s theses on the topic by investigating the aircraft performance impact of using a device installed in an aircraft engine to eliminate/minimise its emissions, at Cranfield University. During this time, I was able to appreciate the necessity and importance of sustainability in engineering and its large impact on climate change. However, these sustainability practices would require a completely new approach in design and manufacturing, especially in aerospace and automotive applications. This inspired me to pursue a career in sustainable manufacturing.
Over my time here, I have also come to see sustainable manufacturing not just as another mandatory requirement, but also as an opportunity for companies to improve their businesses, by improving their resource utilisation, through implementation of better waste management, etc., which in turn will also result in better operations and increased profitability.
Praveen: I believe that as an engineer we all have a duty to understand the impact of what we build over its lifetime. Particularly, the end-of-life of most products have been severely neglected and there is a key concern that we over-produce without the means to recycle or reuse. Sustainable manufacturing is at the core of driving this transition into improving production through multiple ways including reducing consumption and waste. This sustainable transition in manufacturing is in great effect today, but still has a long way to come to be adopted worldwide and integrate international targets on net zero and waste. I was motivated to join this sector as I felt it would allow me to understand where the main shortfalls of sustainability lie in manufacturing and how we can mitigate this with a long-term plan. I believe that the skills I can acquire from a full understanding of sustainable manufacturing will drive me in the future to work closely with sustainability in mind across all aspects of my work. From what I have learnt so far, it has certainly added great value to both my personal knowledge and industrial experience. I look forward to a future where more and more circular economy and sustainability practices will be adopted all the way from small to large scale industries.
In what ways do you feel your background and skill set have made a positive impact with the projects you have delivered? And what new skills / capabilities have you developed since joining?
Agnese: Overall, I believe my background and skill set have made a positive impact on the projects I’ve delivered so far. Particularly, my educational background in Chemical Engineering provided me with a solid foundation in technical knowledge, problem-solving and a systematic approach to projects, ensuring a timely delivery of tasks.
Since joining HSSMI, I’ve also developed new skills and capabilities that I believe are essential for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of sustainability. I’ve enhanced my knowledge of emerging sustainable technologies as well as innovative process equipment. I’ve also improved my communication and stakeholder engagement skills, which is no doubt a valuable addition to my skill set.
Joel: I am an aeronautical engineer, with one master’s in aerospace propulsion and another in engineering business management. Through working on a wide range of projects here at HSSMI, I have been able to look into sustainable manufacturing both from an engineering and business perspective and thus was able provide valuable support on projects and project proposals alike. I have had numerable opportunities to learn and develop both professionally and personally as well. I currently find myself with a much stronger practical understanding of concepts I previously studied, and thus also able to take on a leading role on some of the projects I am now working on.
Praveen: My background in Mechanical Engineering has provided me with a great foundation of knowledge which has become critical in identifying the objectives of each project and the paths to achieve the outcomes. My skills have allowed me to progress through a variety of challenges covering various aspects of engineering from design to delivery, across a whole range of industries. As a manufacturing engineer, I have gained countless skills over the past year, most particularly understanding the practical aspects and shortcomings regarding design for manufacture, which has been a pleasure to develop my skills in.
What advice do you have for future engineers aspiring to make a similar impact in the field?
Agnese: My advice to future engineers looking to make a difference in sustainable manufacturing is to build a strong technical foundation and understanding the environmental and social challenges in the industry. Whenever possible, collaborate with manufacturing process experts and be open to learning from them, while also staying informed about the latest technological developments. Always think holistically, considering the entire product lifecycle and focusing on minimizing waste and maximise process efficiency. Hopefully, future engineer will contribute to a more environmentally responsible and socially conscious manufacturing industry.
Joel: Be open and eager to learn with a passion for what you do. This is something I have been focusing on in my first year here, and I believe it has been very useful in my development throughout my journey so far.
Praveen: To future engineers aspiring to make an impact, I would emphasise the importance of continuous learning and a genuine passion for the field. Be open to learning from experts in manufacturing processes, keeping up with technological advancements, and understanding the environmental and social challenges. Prioritise holistic thinking, considering the entire product lifecycle to minimise waste and enhance process efficiency. A commitment to lifelong learning and a deep-seated passion for sustainable practices will drive meaningful progress in your career, just as it has in my own journey during my first year in the field.
‘As HSSMI grows, it is important that we continue to invest in the employment and development of talented graduates so that they can become tomorrow’s leaders in sustainable manufacturing. As we celebrate the first year of Agnese, Joel and Praveen’s tenure on the HSSMI graduate scheme, we have seen a remarkable growth in their respective knowledge, capability, attitude and confidence in delivering both R&D and commercial consultancy projects. From working on the scale up of hydrogen electrolysers, to benchmarking global gigafactories, the team have delivered tremendous value to our partners and clients. We count ourselves very lucky to get to work with some of the most innovative and exciting businesses around the world and that we can give young engineers such a progressive environment in which to develop in.’ – David Stewart, Engineering Director | Research & Innovation
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