Sam Cullington

15 May, 2020

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What interested you to get into the profession and what do you enjoy most about it now?

I previously worked for a small contracting company specialising in the design and installation of renewable energy systems. My role was to survey, design and specify bespoke solutions for large domestic and smaller commercial properties. However, due to the size of the company, I was often drawn into the installation and project management, away from the parts of the job which I enjoyed the most.

I therefore decided that I needed to change career direction, looking for a job that encompassed the design elements and client interactions which is what I enjoy the most.

Building services engineering at Pick Everard was the change in direction I was looking for. This has given me an opportunity to gain greater knowledge and improve my technical design skills on a wider scope of building services, to work on larger commercial and specialist projects, whilst also studying and gaining industry qualifications through an apprenticeship scheme.

What do you appreciate about being an apprentice at Pick Everard?

I appreciate the support Pick Everard offer towards my career progression as an apprentice engineer. I have a dedicated workplace mentor who is monitoring my progression and competencies as an engineer, identifying gaps in my knowledge and providing advice on how to build new design skills.

My mentor and I have worked together to produce a workplace log, which I use to record my involvement in projects and skills I have developed, which can then be used to evidence competencies when seeking professional accreditations (IEng) once the apprenticeship finishes.

Pick Everard further support my progression as an engineer through hosting regular CIBSE accredited CPD (Continual Professional Development) training sessions. This ensures that I’m kept up to date with the latest advancements in building services equipment, plus it gives me an opportunity to meet contacts and network with suppliers.

Our Young Engineers Scheme provides monthly training sessions to develop ‘soft skills’ which are essential for the day to day work of a building services engineer. The sessions are aligned to the competence criteria required for gaining CIBSE professional accreditation beyond formal technical skills; focussing on topics such as collaborative working, space planning, report writing, balancing work and study, presentation and consultancy skills.

Tell us about your early career experiences

I have taken an unconventional route into building services engineering. I graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and gained a post graduate diploma in law; having initially pursued a career as a solicitor.

Following a number of work-based placements within law firms and volunteering for a year as an advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau, I decided that this career path was not for me.

During my studies I worked as part of an installation team for an air conditioning and electrical contracting company, which expanded into the renewable heating market. I was brought into the office to support the partners when producing proposals, assist with the marketing, promote the company at exhibitions and to grow the renewable side of the business.

This offered me exposure to the opportunities engineering has to offer, sparking my interest in pursuing a different route for my career.

What projects have inspired you so far and why?

The most challenging project I have undertaken has been for a ventilation system design for a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The project was the refurbishment and remodelling of an existing building to accommodate the new facility. As with all healthcare projects, the design requirements are more stringent (via HBN/HTM’s) than the building regulations require and performance requirements above good practice guides.

It has been my greatest challenge since joining Pick Everard, to produce an energy efficient design that fully complied with the hospital trust’s performance requirements, designing a new system to fit into an existing building envelope; fully modelled in 3D using Revit.

Having two young children myself, it was particularly rewarding to be involved in a project to deliver a new state of the art facility to help very poorly children.

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