Atkins technician James Winson works on the renovation of the London tube network. In November he won a prestigious industry award at the IET Achievement Awards Ceremony.
James is an Assistant Telecoms Engineer at Atkins Global, and in November was announced as the winner of the IET Technician of the Year and awarded £1,000 prize money.
There is currently a high demand for engineers, and increasingly, apprentices and technicians like James, are plugging the skills gap. Throughout his training, James gained experience in the installation, test and design function, which has given him a thorough understanding of design constraints.
The London Underground Station Stabilisation Programme
In 2013 James started working as the Telecoms Design Engineer for a number of projects under the London Underground (LU) Station Stabilisation Programme, worth £330 million. The programme aims to upgrade outdated equipment across the underground network.
Designed ten years ago, technological advances meant that London Underground systems are now dated, with more efficient solutions possible. For a number of the problems faced on the projects, there was no past experience or answer, so James had to engineer, himself, solutions to these unique problems. These have provided practical and financial benefits.
James’ objective was to work collaboratively with LU engineers to design new telecoms systems for their stations. Starting with Earl's Court, his role was to introduce new internet technologies such as local area networking, which is a computer network system that links computers within small areas using network media, and high definition CCTV onto the LU infrastructure to create better, more reliable, future-proof communication systems.
Working on an industry first
James was also asked to tackle a noise issue at the west London station – here he had to design a PA system of delivering announcements that complied with London Underground standards, and also satisfied the requirements of the noise order issued by the local council. James worked with an acoustic consultant to provide a suitable solution – an industry first.
Within his role at Atkins Global, much of his time is spent working with the offshore team in India, and across different disciplines to ensure the telecoms design is as coordinated with other projects as possible.
Having gained Level 3 NVQ and BTEC engineering qualifications, he is still studying for a level 5 foundation degree level and working towards applying for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status. He is also a big advocate of encouraging more young people into engineering and has volunteered to be part of EngTech Now a campaign to educate young people interested in an engineering career about the career benefits.
Find out more about the IET Apprentice and Technician of the Year Awards.