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Fiona Vick, Electrical Technician

Fiona's Dad was always fixing something or improving the way in which it worked which really appealed to a young Fiona who thought that one day she would become a car mechanic, always enjoying playing with Lego and Meccano and fixing the bricks herself. However, the sea came calling and for Fiona she now makes sure that our lighthouses are functioning suitably and reliably to aid seafarers, always looking ahead to see what improvements could be made and how she could have a role in developing new technologies in the future within marine navigation.

Age: 43

Job title: Electrical Technician

Company employed by: Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB)

When you were a child, what did you dream you’d be when you grew up? A car mechanic

What is the biggest impact your work will or could have in the future?
Further technologies in marine navigation will be really interesting to see. Over the 15 years I have been working for NLB things have changed a lot in the engineering world, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next 15 years bring.

What excites you most about STEM?
I get excited about the engineering in STEM, and that I can pass on what I have learned to others and hopefully encourage our next generation to go into STEM careers. I’m excited to see what the future holds for engineering and what technologies can make a difference in making marine navigation safer.

What do you love about your job? What would you change?
I love how it’s different every day and I can be working with different people and teams on a daily basis. I’m not sure I would change much about the job itself.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?
Knowing that the work I have done has fixed a fault and that everything is working properly again.

What does a typical day at work involve?
Getting equipment ready for lighthouses and buoys and also fixing broken equipment coming back to the workshop. This could be, lanterns, solar panels, generators, racons and various other aids to navigation.

What’s the most unexpected thing about your job?
When lighthouses or buoys break down this can be for many reasons - from storms breaking equipment to faults in technology. So getting a fix quickly is essential to ensure the safety of mariners.

Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
My Dad was always fixing everything and he worked in the local power station. His work was always really fascinating to me when I was young.

Any influential toys during childhood?
Lego and Meccano.

Your favourite subjects at school?
Physics, Tech studies, Maths and Accountancy.

Qualifications (school/college/university):
At school I did English, Maths, Physics, Technological Studies and Accountancy. At College I did a NC & SVQ level 2 in Engineering Manufacture and an HNC & SVQ level 3 in maintaining electricity generating plant.

Your reason for choosing this career?
I wanted to learn how things worked and how I could fix them (like my Dad).

Tell me about your career path to date?
Apprentice fitter at Cruachan power station doing mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and control. Also a welder/fabricator for a fish farm company making fish cages, then for last 15 years an electrical technician fixing lighthouses and buoys.

If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
I love my current job and don’t think I would change that but I would love to be more involved in the engineering design of things. At the moment I am happy as I am and love all the different aspects of my job.

Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
With STEM you can learn something new every day. Technology changes fast and it can be like you’re constantly learning and achieving. Engineering is a great career to come into and can give great opportunities to see great places.