Neil Read has been in the Engineering Inspection industry since 2005, 10 of those years as an Engineer Surveyor with Royal & Sun Alliance before moving to Zurich Engineering where he progressed to his current role as a Senior Engineer.


Background and career path in engineering: 

As many budding engineers allude to, a young Neil had an affinity with taking things apart to try and find out how they worked and (hopefully) be able to put them back together again. Although Neil was keen on becoming an engineer, he couldn’t see himself going down the traditional college then university route. Neil's hard work and dedication didn’t go amiss as he was accepted for an Aeronautical apprenticeship when he left school at 16. 

Neil started his engineering journey on the edge of Portsmouth Harbour, at the RNAY Fleetlands which was at the time an MRO facility for the Army, Navy & RAF’s rotary wing aircraft. Working on helicopters and their gas turbine engines was a dream job for Neil - a great starting point in his engineer career and provided him with a solid knowledge base in terms of engineering principles. Additionally, it also allowed him to complete an HNC in Aeronautical Engineering via day release. 

What are some of the best parts about your job? 

Reflecting on his experience, Neil highlighted the exceptional variety that comes with being an engineer, particularly as an Engineer Surveyor. Although he has transitioned to a Senior Engineer position, Neil continues to enjoy visiting new and exciting sites during client meetings and interactions with other Engineer Surveyors. Beyond the allure of diverse locations, Neil comments that the role introduces him to several fascinating individuals, many of which from industries he had never previously encountered. Neil considers his most significant accomplishment to be the transition from an Engineer Surveyor to a Senior Engineer. Despite accruing 13 years of experience in the surveyor role, stepping into the Technical Services department as a Senior Engineer brought him a realisation of the vast unknown. The shift instilled confidence in his surveying skills while emphasising the continuous learning curve inherent in the Senior Engineer role. 

What made you join SOE and how has it helped your career? 

Neil's choice to become a member of the SOE was influenced by the fact that several of his colleagues were already members of the organisation. Recognising that the SOE has a dedicated  professional sector tailored for engineer surveyors, known as the Bureau of Engineer Surveyors (BES), Neil found it logical to stay connected with like-minded engineers. Being a part of the SOE allowed him to stay informed about new and emerging engineering information, as well as access to continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities. 

According to Neil, the SOE actively advocates for the advantages of Professional Registration. It emphasises how such registration serves as a testament to one's ability, knowledge, and dedication to the sector, reflective of the effort invested in their work. Neil acknowledges the valuable guidance provided by the SOE, specifically in navigating the process of completing his IEng through the technical report route, an approach that proved highly effective for him. 

Neil’s advice for aspiring engineers 

Neil acknowledges that not everyone is well-suited for the academic route, but he strongly believes that this should not hinder progress in the engineering industry. Neil underscores the importance of on-the-job training and the knowledge acquired through years of experience, asserting that these aspects are equally crucial and valuable to employers. He points out that Professional Registration doesn't solely depend on academic qualifications; instead, he highlights the immense benefit of a combination of both academic and practical knowledge in his own experience.