Christine Holmes – Senior Mechanical Design Engineer
DO WHAT YOU ENJOY AND NEVER STOP LEARNING
A career as an engineer was less of a choice and more of a vocation for Christine. From the age of 8 when she first got involved in racing karts, she has taken things apart wanting to know how they work and how to fix things when they didn’t.
From karting she moved onto racing cars, carrying out the engine and general maintenance herself. Having found her love at a very early age, it was a natural progression for Christine to study Motorsport Engineering at university, paving the way for an early career in motorsport, travelling around the world with teams from Formula 3, British and World Touring Cars and Formula 1.
Christine talks so passionately about her work and the reason is obvious – she simply does what she loves.
TEAM-WORKING IS KEY
Since joining Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) in 2012, Christine has applied her love and understanding of engineering design to a wide variety of projects, including modifying a fleet of Spitfires, designing of fighter jet simulator seats, converting a Saab340 aircraft to a flying classroom and the design, manufacture and build of a full scale eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) ground test rig (among many other projects).
“The latter project is my greatest single achievement so far”, she said, “because for the first time I was responsible for managing a team of mechanical design engineers on a large-scale project dealing with emerging technology.”
She’s now looking forward to getting her teeth into Project Fresson, the project led by CAeS to convert a nine-seat aircraft to hydrogen propulsion.
But even above the technical achievement, Christine values the respect of her peers and the feeling of a job well done. She said: “I love working as part of a team to solve problems, progress technology and deliver engineering solutions that make a difference.”
The fact that she’s won the Colleague of the Year Award at the company for 3 years in a row is testament to her love of working with others, a key skill for any engineer.
A HUMBLING THING
And what advice would Christine give for anyone considering engineering as a career?
“If you enjoy figuring out how things work and you’re prepared to work hard, go for it. You need to do something you enjoy. Even if you don’t do the “right” subjects at school, there is always a route into engineering if you’re determined to do it. And the hard work is more than worth it”
“Everything you touch has been engineered by someone. You could be the person who designs something that changes somebody else’s life……or that changes the future of aviation. It’s quite a humbling thing”.