Mike James

Engineering Instructor

I am driven by me being able to pass on the skills and knowledge I have gained

What led you to work for PETA?

I finished school and decided to undertake a 4 year shipwright apprenticeship in Portsmouth Naval Base which taught me engineering skills that would prepare me for future employment within my chosen field of fabrication and welding. Once this was completed, I stayed within the Naval Base for a further year and then decided I wanted to follow a career in the Army, but still utilise my engineering background. I joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) in 1993 as a metalsmith. I served for 24 years within that trade and in my final 2 years was assigned to trade training. This was where I found my passion for teaching and being able to pass on the knowledge I had gained throughout my career.

What is your role at PETA and what drives you to do what you do?

I am the fabrication and welding instructor within the engineering department at the Havant site where I deliver level 2 and Level 3 fabrication and welding, I also teach general engineering disciplines such as health and safety, Hand fitting, and CAD. I am driven by me being able to pass on the skills and knowledge I have gained in the past 33 years within engineering, and to give back to engineering what it has given me, by educating the next generation of engineers.

What knowledge/experience do you draw upon for your role?

 With 33 years of experience within the engineering profession I use that experience and knowledge I have gained to teach best practice and what is expected from the industry, I also use past experience to put real life scenarios to the learners to help them understand why it is necessary to do these tasks. I also use my experience and knowledge to help make the learners aware of difficulties that may arise and how to deal with them correctly.

How do you approach your role on a day-to-day basis? What skills are required?

To be an instructor you need to be able to adapt your teaching styles to suit the class you are delivering to. The classroom is not always the same on a day-to-day basis and you need to be able to adjust to suit. If I am not teaching, I try to improve the material that is being delivered, by reviewing resources and making sure they are current. I also believe that finding more diverse ways of delivering material to the learner (e.g. remote learning platforms such as Moodle), and will enhance their learning process and encourage them to have greater ownership of their learning. This has been brought to the forefront in recent times.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

In my spare time I practice the Korean martial art of Taekwondo where I hold my 3rd DAN black belt. I also teach Taekwondo in my spare time which can prove very rewarding when you see your students improve in both confidence and ability.

What are your personal values, and what is important to you?

I have a high set of standards that I follow, I believe that you do not get anywhere in life without working hard for it, and that you are rewarded for that hard work. I value loyalty, honesty and respect.