Rhys Howells, 21, is a third year Network75 student studying the BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of South Wales.
Rhys’ host company G.O.S. Tool and Engineering Services Ltd (G.O.S.) in Blaenavon is a privately owned market leading company specialising in the manufacture, conversion and supply of road rail equipment. G.O.S. supplies a range of construction equipment from many leading manufactures including Doosan, Komatsu, Kobelco, JCB, and Caterpillar specially converted to work on rail. G.O.S. also design and manufacture a range of ancillary equipment including trailers, trolleys, lifting beams, sleeper laying and handling equipment, grabs and trailer attachments.
‘The Network75 programme has been both enjoyable and beneficial. I am able to combine the knowledge I gain at university with experience gained at G.O.S.; this has been a great way to learn.’
My placement with G.O.S. also provides me with the opportunity to learn and enhance the practical skills required within the industry. One of the many key skills for a Design Engineer is the use of 3D CAD software. I use this on a daily basis throughout my placement. It has enabled me to excel in one of my university modules this year.
Yes, one project in particular involved a modular beam I designed being used on the London Bridge Station upgrade worksite. I designed the beam using CAD plus calculations and FEA stress analysis tests to ensure it was capable of lifting 32 tonnes. I was fortunate enough to travel to London to watch the beam in action in November 2014. Watching it being used with two 250 Kirow Rail Cranes and witnessing it completing three successful switch and crossing assembly lifts was amazing!
Having your own individual project seems like a daunting task initially but as the project developed so did my confidence and I really enjoyed following it through. The end product was a massive achievement for me.
Upon graduating I’ll have gained a degree along with five years experience as a Design Engineer. Due to having the right qualifications along with relevant experience there will be many job opportunities available to me and the potential for me to further integrate into the team at G.O.S. I’ll also have a head start in terms of working towards more senior positions as well as the prospect of becoming a Chartered Engineer.