Award Proves Technician Jon is Material Guy

27th November 2014

A materials and engineering student from Sheffield Hallam University has overcome dyslexia to win a major national award for combining education with a job at one of the UK's leading energy firms.

Jon Forster, 25, from Warrington, was nominated along with 12 other hopefuls to win Technician of the Year award 2014 from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, which was presented at an awards ceremony in London last week. Jon, who graduated last week with a first class foundation award in materials engineering, was awarded one of the top prizes by a panel of three industry experts who judged his contribution to the sector as exceptional. Having only just finished his foundation degree, Jon has already started studying for a bachelor's award in the subject, which he fits in part-time around his job at Amec Foster Wheeler, as well as looking after his six-month-old daughter with his wife, Danielle. Initially working on a trial basis, Jon impressed Amec Foster Wheeler so much they took him on full-time, and even offered to pay to further his studies at Sheffield Hallam. Now Jon is responsible for materials preparation, budgets and design procedures and leads on the laboratory improvement and health and safety teams at Amec Foster Wheeler. Jon also acts as a course representative at the University, where he liaises between students and course leaders helping to raise any problems and deliver course feedback. Jon said: "The interview and judging process was nerve wracking - one of the judges on the panel is a top expert in the CO2 oxidation of AGR reactors which is what my job entails. If I made a mistake, he would know. However, I'd done my research and my preparation paid off. "I was ecstatic to find out I'd won the award. This is a phenomenal achievement for me. I have always struggled with education because I have dyslexia, so I never thought I could aspire to this level." Dr Paul Bingham, course leader for materials engineering at Sheffield Hallam, nominated Jon for the award, he said: "We are all incredibly proud of Jon for winning this prestigious award. He has consistently applied himself and has worked diligently throughout his studies and was a natural choice for a nomination for the Technician of the Year. This is a wonderful accomplishment and we look forward to great things from Jon in the future." Jon added: "my experiences have taught me that anybody can succeed in higher education if they are prepared to apply themselves with the right attitude. I intend to use this award to inspire future technicians and material engineers."

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