As we reach the midpoint of National Careers Week, an initiative designed to inspire young people into their desired trades, multi-disciplined engineering firm adi Group has once again turned the attention on those with long-running careers in the industry.

This time, we hear from Latfi Karim, adi project manager, who shares what a career in project management involves as well as some of the many opportunities that engineering has provided since joining the sector.

Tell us a little about your role, the projects you are supporting and the type of work you undertake on a daily basis.
As a project manager, I am responsible for taking the project from the enquiry stage all the way to final hand over and running. This normally involves working with the customer to agree on the scope of work and to secure the order. Once the order is placed, then the challenge is to complete the work in the set time, as well as looking after health and safety and making sure that project costs are controlled.

What attracted you to a career in the engineering sector?
When I was young, my dream was to be a pilot. I loved everything to do with planes, however, I was not able to join the RAF, so I thought if I can’t fly one then I will make one. When I finished university with an aerospace system engineer degree, again I did not get a job in the aerospace industry, but I still was interested in building and making things. I ended up joining a company that designed and developed industrial ovens and furnaces with the aim to work in their R&D team.

How did you initially get started in engineering? Did you do an apprenticeship?
My path into engineering was through A-levels and degree, but the journey was not easy as my spelling was always an issue. It wasn’t until I was at university that I was assessed to be dyslexic. Despite this, I worked my way through it and got to where I am today.

What do you most like about working for adi Group/adi Projects?
Working for adi you are never bored as the Group is involved in all engineering sectors. One day you could be working in a chocolate factory, the next you are in a car assembly plant and the following week you are in a steel mill where the motor is the size of a house!

What is the best project you’ve ever worked on?
When I was working for the furnace manufacturing company, I spent ten years travelling the world installing and commissioning furnaces in the glass-metal finish industry. My favourite project was when I was involved in the development of the first oven to make plasma TV screens. I was working in Taiwan on the pilot line, where I got to program a robot to load and unload the 50inch screens on the carts – it was very exciting!

With everything you’ve learnt, what would you tell the ‘younger you’ about a career in engineering?
I would tell myself what I tell my kids. Choose a job that you can grow into. There are many opportunities in every field so if you don’t succeed try again and never give up – as one door closes another ten will open.

Any other comments on the engineering sector / engineering careers you’d like to share?
Like any job, there is the good and fun side but you also need to be able to deal with the aspects of the job that you enjoy doing less. My advice is to choose a path that you are sure that when it’s boring you still want to do it.

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