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The University of Southampton

Outstanding graduate engineer wins Baroness Platt of Writtle Award

Published: 15 October 2019
Tim Ward
Tim Ward has undertaken an impressive career in the Royal Navy since graduating from Southampton.

Submarine engineer Tim Ward has been named the winner of the 2019 Baroness Platt of Writtle Award for his achievements as a newly registered Incorporated Engineer.

The Royal Navy Astute Class Manager was honoured by the Engineers Trust at last month’s Annual Awards of the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

Tim completed a MEng Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Southampton before undertaking leadership training at Britannia Royal Naval College and nuclear propulsion engineering at HMS Sultan.

He has taken on steadily increasing levels of responsibility on board HMS Triumph and HMS Torbay before stepping up to his current role in the Submarine Delivery Agency, where he is responsible for the planning and managing of all maintenance needs and periods for all active Astute Class submarines.

“I feel honoured to have won the Baroness Platt of Writtle award,” Tim says. “My career in the Royal Navy has been extremely challenging and it is very special to have my work recognised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

“My success as an engineer has only been possible because of the brilliant members of the submarine service, with whom I have had the privilege of working, and my incredibly patient family. I am excited about my future in the profession and I hope I can continue to motivate those around me to pursue a rewarding engineering career.”

Tim was inspired to be an engineer as a GCSE student when he studied the splitting of the atom to generate energy.

“Given my interest in nuclear power, I was always drawn to submarine engineering at the university,” he says. “The understanding of materials, thermodynamics and fluid dynamics I received at Southampton has formed the building blocks of all my future studies and my time as a professional engineer. 

“Life as an engineer is always interesting and working on a nuclear submarine was truly exhilarating at times. The work has been more varied than I previously imagined and good teamwork has been so important to success. I can't see myself in any other career than engineering now.”

Tim’s advice for the next generation of engineering students would be to pay attention to the non-technical elements of their course.

“You will quickly realise that soft skills, teamwork, management and commercial law will form part of your role in the future,” he says. “Additionally, keep asking ‘why’ and ‘so what’. The Submarine Service believes in questioning everything – why - but as an engineer it's important not to get sucked into a problem without thinking about the implications - so what.”

Over 28,000 talented engineers were professionally registered with Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status at the end of 2018. Tim was nominated for this award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE) and judged alongside six very competitive candidates.

Tim is an active contributor to the South West Nuclear Hub and a STEM ambassador. The judges were particularly impressed by his examples of using sincere empowerment of individual team members to maintain high standards of team performance and morale, as well as high safety standards during a period of unusually arduous on-board conditions.

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