The changing face of engineering

Published on: 21/06/2018


Barrus prides itself on having highly trained staff which is extended through to its network of dealers. Authorised marine dealers are supported by the Marine divisions with specialist training courses run by two of the Technical Service Managers, Tim Bennett and Jonathan Hay.

The Marine team deliver a series of annual training courses starting with the Dealer Recertification Course (DRC) in January. The DRC is a one-day course that provides the dealer network with information on the latest products and technologies, manufacturer information and solutions to technical issues. In addition to the DRC, training is offered for apprentices and new starters at authorised dealerships to familiarise themselves with the Mercury and Mariner outboard product line up, and the Mercury Diesel and MerCruiser inboard engine ranges.

An apprentice that recently completed a specialised Mercury Diesel and MerCruiser training programme is Karen Ogden, one of only a few female marine engineers in Wales. Karen began her engineering education at college and, after completing a Level 1 course in Car Mechanics, was given the opportunity to specialise in marine.

The Marine industry has placed focus on encouraging more female engineers into the industry, and AJK Motor & Marine Engineers, based in North Wales were approached by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering to offer an apprenticeship opportunity for Karen. After completing a two-day trial at AJK Motor & Marine Engineers, Karen has worked at the Mercury Diesel and MerCruiser authorised dealership, now trading as North Wales Marine Engineering, for 11 months. From the start, Paul Worthington, Owner of North Wales Marine Engineering, recognised Karen’s ability to listen and understand quickly commenting that “Karen has the enthusiasm and drive to get up and do things. She is a quick learner and isn’t afraid to ask when she isn’t sure.”

Over a three week period, Karen and Paul attended four training courses at the Barrus Training School in Bicester; Diagnostic Tools, DTS & SmartCraft Systems, Mercury Diesel Training and MerCruiser & EC Product Training. Paul commented, “The Barrus courses are very good because they are small groups and Jonathan is good at focusing on those that are struggling at each stage to give further explanation.” Karen found using a new diagnostics system and learning how to save the data on the Diagnostic Tools course particularly useful. 

Since the dealership changed hands, North Wales Marine Engineering has moved to Conway Marina and been approached to become the marina’s sole marine engineer, so the dealership is looking forward to expansion.

Looking ahead, Karen will specialise in outboards, and Paul is confident that Karen can independently service an outboard to a high standard, commenting, “Karen is good at explaining to customers what the problems are with their engines and what has gone wrong.”

Karen will be completing a Level 1 and Level 2 Powerboat Handling course this spring so that she can take customers’ boats out and, after being asked what she would like to see more of in future, Karen replied, “More girls on the courses and smaller overalls!”

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