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Learning at work: Q&A with Assistant Digital Design Engineer, Ali Azizi

Over the past few months, we have been expanding our team and creating new roles within our Practice. The appointment of our new digital design engineers enhances our digital engineering capabilities and the service we provide for our clients.

Ali is our Assistant Digital Design Engineer, who joined the Practice in September 2020.  Before joining permanently, he completed his placement year with S I Sealy in 2018 as a Mechanical Engineer. Ali shares why he returned to S I Sealy after his studies, and the training he has been receiving in his new role as Assistant Digital Design Engineer.

Q. How did your placement with S I Sealy support your learning for your degree?

I worked at S I Sealy for 13 months during my placement at University, which allowed me to gain a lot of real-world experience of working in a building services engineering consultancy. Whilst working here, I learnt a lot about building surveys, gained a better understanding of regulations Part L and existing building systems. I also gained the ability to look at existing building systems and find feasible ways to improve them in terms of energy and general building performance. I gained a lot of confidence in my communication skills throughout my placement year from attending meetings internally and externally and producing specifications and documentation for the projects I was working on.

Utilising all the experience I gained from S I Sealy, I based my final year project around surveying an existing building and implanting design changes that would benefit the building in terms of human use and energy use.

Q. What were the highlights of your placement?

During my placement, I worked on multiple projects, all at different stages of development. Two projects that stand out to me are St Anthony’s Parish Centre and The Royal Oldham Hospital Fracture clinic relocation.  I worked on these two projects from the beginning to the end of the RIBA Stages. This allowed me to start to really see the work that goes into each stage. Once you see the finished project, you have a moment of pride for all the work you have done, and this was a real highlight for me.

Q. Why did you want to return to S I Sealy now you have your degree?

There were many reasons I wanted to return to S I Sealy. One reason is the close interaction between the Directors and staff. At S I Sealy there is an open-door policy with all the Directors, which makes senior management very approachable.

The job role at S I Sealy was also a great opportunity, enabling me to put into practice my passion to become a more versatile engineer. My background is in mechanical engineering, but I want to have a wider knowledge of the building service industry as a whole by working in Building Information Modelling and electrical engineering.  S I Sealy offered me the opportunity to do this.

Q. Continuous professional development is key for engineers. How does S I Sealy support you with this?

In my opinion, there are two elements to learning – watching someone demonstrate a technique or process and then applying that process to a project you are working on. I have been learning a lot from senior members of the team who specialise in Building Information Modelling and Electrical Engineering.

Once I have learnt and picked up things from senior staff members, I have the opportunity to implement these techniques and skillset into my assigned projects. Through this continuous training and the open-door policy at S I Sealy, I am always developing in every aspect of my job.