Electrical Control Systems are boring…. Or are they?

I joined Banelec in 2006, knowing absolutely nothing about electrical controls. I was immediately taken with how diverse the applications were; I had never had any reason to think about how things were controlled or made to work, but once I started seeing various projects coming through, I began to notice everything. Suddenly the automatic car barriers at the car park stood out, the revolving doors, lifts and escalators at the shopping centre began to pique my interest. How does that work? Who supplied that control panel? It wasn’t long before I would start thinking to myself “Banelec can do that!”
As a local manufacturing business, we were recently asked to visit out local school to talk about what we do and what a career in engineering looks like. When I asked the class to raise their hand if they had thought about a future career in engineering it wasn’t surprising to see how few hands were to be seen. All of them are obviously going to be hugely famous bloggers or Youtube stars when they leave school, which is why the head mistress had asked for companies like ours to introduce engineering to the students; to show them there are many other paths out there.

As I stood in front of this class, met with many uninterested looks, I realised that 14 years ago I would have most likely had that exact same look on my face. In preparation for my visit I had thought back on all the projects we had been asked to quote, the different types of environments electrical control systems can be found in, how everything that moves must be electrically controlled. I told the class about how we had quoted lifting platforms for a Lady Gaga concert and automated the gates at a zoo to ensure the keepers and lions would be kept separate during feeding times.

I watched as their interest grew and they became more intrigued to hear what I had to say. Asking the class if they could name the car James Bond drives? Which they obviously could! Guess what boys and girls? Banelec engineers have worked at the likes of Aston Martin and Range Rover, they’ve seen the latest prototypes on the production line before anyone else even knows about them. Our engineers have worked on Military projects, inside nuclear submarines, in hangars with the latest fighter jets, and made equipment for maintenance on aeroplane engines and to lift tanks. They have been all over the world installing and maintaining systems for some of the largest companies around.

Suddenly I realised I had gone well over my allotted speaking time, and the students were all sat up listening to what I had been saying with such intrigue. It’s safe to say, at the end of my talk, when I asked them again whether anyone would be interested in a career in engineering that there were considerably more hands to be seen raised.