Stephen Pithouse attained a first class degree in Electronic Engineering (BEng) in July, and will soon be joining FANUC at their base in Coventry, contributing to the growing industrial strength of the Midlands.
One of this year's Engineering graduates from the University of Warwick, who has a passion for robotics, is transferring his academic skills to his new job at an internationally renowned industrial automation company.
Stephen, who went to school only a mile away from FANUC, had not even considered going to university, until a team of volunteer University of Warwick students, led by Margaret Low, a Principal Teaching Fellow in WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), visited his school to help pupils learn about computer programming for robotics.
During his Engineering course at the University of Warwick, Stephen designed and fabricated electronics to be fitted to a 2-stage water-rocket (measuring acceleration and pressure to determine when to deploy a parachute).
He also developed 2nd year electronics workshops, introducing Engineering students to microcontrollers and electronics. This was targeted towards non-Electronics students to provide them with an insight into how electronics can be applied to, and benefit other engineering disciplines.
He is now passing his inspiration and passion on to others. When Stephen came to Warwick, he immediately joined Warwick Volunteers, so that he could go into local schools himself to encourage and help other young people to take up degrees and careers in computing and robotics.
Keen on demonstrating the positive impact of engineering in the community, Stephen is currently developing teaching resources to be used in local secondary schools, introducing pupils to the basics of electronics and programming, utilising the Arduino and Scratch platforms.
At FANUC, Stephen's position will be ‘Project Engineer'. This will involve travelling around the country (and occasionally overseas) to install systems involving industrial robot arms.
Margaret Low from WMG explained Stephen's first contact with the volunteers:
"Two University of Warwick Technology Volunteers visited his school when Stephen was in Year 9, introducing him to a whole new world of electronics and programming. He was inspired and intrigued, and a love of robotics was sparked. He started to design and build his own robots and has now won awards and competitions and he has now inspired many other young people to study robotics.
Stephen is proud to have, in turn, inspired kids to love engineering:
"Volunteering gave me great pride and sense of achievement, knowing that we were introducing children to a new topic, and could indeed ignite that spark inside them, not only giving them an interest, but inspiring them to aim high and break from what may be considered the norm."
You can follow Stephen's journey on http://stephenpithouse.blogspot.co.uk/