Making the switch from industry to instructor at the Tech Centre

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Last year, David Smedley went from working on high tech aircraft as an electrical avionic engineer in the Royal Air Force to joining EEF’s Technology Training Centre team as an instructor. So how did he make the transition to teaching hundreds of apprentices who pass through the centre each year?


Why did you want to transition from industry to education?

I worked in electric and avionic engineering in the air force for eight years before taking a job at the training centre in Birmingham in August 2015. I’m now teaching hydraulics and fluid power as an instructor. I teach the apprentices how to design and build circuits to specification and how to repair their components.

Working in education was always something I knew I wanted to do at some point. When the opportunity came up, I just went for it. I think I’m naturally quite good at it, and I enjoy passing on my skills and previous experience to the next generation of engineers.

I also learn things myself from working here, like how new bits of machinery work or electrical maintenance from the other instructors who I can share experiences with.


What attracted you to EEF and the tech training centre in particular?

I took a tour of the building and was impressed by how modern it was and all the high tech equipment. I also liked that it’s about work-based, practical learning, rather than just classroom.

In that way it’s similar to being at work, and you can build a rapport with the students.


What’s the best part about your job?

Seeing the apprentices come in not knowing anything, and then leaving quite knowledgeable and capable is rewarding. I like sharing my experience in industry to help them become good engineers.


Any advice for someone thinking about a career shift to education?

If you’re passionate about teaching people, then go for it. The tech centre is a good place to start off. You find out it’s not as daunting as you think.

If you’ve reached the point in your career where you want to start passing on experiences or are ready for a new challenge, then think about going for it.  


The EEF Technology Training Centre is expanding and hiring new staff across a variety of fields, including instructors and administrative staff. For more information on applying for a role at the technology training centre, get in touch at

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