Profile of Rob Udale: an engineer at Springboard

What is a typical project like?

During my two years at Springboard there has been no such thing as a typical project – having worked across a range of products from surgical tools and drug delivery devices to innovative consumer care products. The scope of the projects has varied from generating concepts and developing functional prototypes, to working with suppliers to diagnosing and verifying causes of products failure.

At Springboard we are big believers that any theoretical model needs to be validated experimentally so project work is almost always split between the office and the lab. This could desk-based work such as technology scouting, first pass calculations and the design of mathematical models, CAD or spending time in the lab designing and performing rigorous experiments and testing procedures and building prototypes.

A project usually lasts a few months, often because it is useful for both ourselves and the client to quantise the work along the product development life cycle to ensure clear deliverables are met at each stage and that the project remains guided by the client’s needs. The development of a device from start to finish can therefore be many phases rolled together lasting much longer than a few months.

This varied nature of work from project to project, alongside the fast pace in which we take a product from a User Requirements Specification to concept to prototype and finally to a manufacturable, verified, and validated product is extremely satisfying.

All our projects must meet our rigorous ethical policy, so you can always be proud of what you are doing.

Who are your clients?

Our clients are typically large multinational pharmaceutical or device manufacturing companies, although I have also worked with safety critical consumer device companies and smaller medical device companies who specialise in certain treatments.

Almost all our clients have a global presence and so face to face meetings can involve trips to the United States or continental Europe.

What do you think about your role?

It is enormously satisfying to be working in the medical technology space, partly because the developments can be fast-paced, partly because the cooperative environment is highly stimulating and partly because the products we are working on are really helping to transform people’s lives.

The atmosphere at Springboard, the integrity with which the company operates, and the amazing people I get to work with all make my job even more enjoyable and fulfilling.

At Springboard we are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the business including sales, marketing and project leadership, as well as being closely consulted on decisions that affect the company and the working environment. This collaborative and inclusive attitude to company-wide engagement is extremely gratifying.

Profile of Thom Wyatt: an engineer at Springboard

Thom is a Project Engineer working mainly on innovative medical devices at Springboard since 2015.  Thom explains more…

“A project can last many months, but as we develop a product or understand a client’s problem it tends to be convenient to break work into 2-3 month phases.

The varied nature of the work makes the job interesting.  Springboard focuses on technically challenging work and has a rigorous ethical policy, so you can always be proud of the work you are doing.

I have worked on many different aspects of devices such as drug delivery devices, and I have worked across the spectrum of product development, such as early-stage concept development, creating proof-of-principle demonstrators, complex root cause investigations, continuous improvement and independent technical reviews.

We work in both the office and the lab.  We might be doing CAD or mathematical models at our computer, but also running labs tests or building prototypes.

There are naturally peaks and troughs in the amount of client work and, because Springboard chooses to have no internal projects, any break in client work is used to learn something new, help on other projects or contribute to other aspects of running the business.

Working together

Our clients tend to be large, multinational medical device or pharmaceutical companies, so face-to-face meetings might be in the UK but could equally be in the United States, continental Europe, or elsewhere.  For drug delivery projects, we sometimes work for the device manufacturer or sometimes for the pharma company.

I love the interesting and varied nature of the work. The team are all friendly and welcoming.

One of the best things about Springboard is its flexibility – we manage to combine doing excellent work while actively removing unnecessary hindrances that prevent the job getting done. We are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the business including sales, marketing and project leadership, as well as being closely consulted on decisions that affect the company and the working environment.”

Thom has a MEng in Mechanical Engineering and BSc in Psychology, and worked in energy consultancy for 2 years before joining Springboard.

If you would like to get in touch we would be happy to hear from you.

Springboard’s primary school partner gains national science award

Springboard believes in inspiring the next generation of scientists and so engages in outreach activities at all ages. For the youngest children, we work with Fen Drayton primary school to run an after-school science club in autumn term. The aim of the club is to encourage the most enthusiastic scientists in Year 6 to go beyond what they learn in school and do “real science”, and was run last year by our Year in Industry student, Lucy Bennet. We also contributed to their science day by purchasing safety glasses and running one of the experiments.

Fen Drayton has been working hard on a number of science initiatives, and this was recently recognised when they were awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark, a UK-wide scheme to enable primary schools to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their science provision. Engagement with outside organisations such as our company gained a specific commendation in their report:

“You have really embraced the value and importance of enriching your provision for science and have organised an impressive programme of visits, visitors and activities for your pupils. You are now working on using these experiences to develop the pupils’ science capital and their awareness of where science learning can take them in the future.”

We are proud to be part of the invigorating and outward-looking scientific community of Cambridge, and would like to congratulate Fen Drayton on the award which will help to inspire the next generation of scientists for Cambridge and beyond.

Springboard’s Lucy Bennett Wins Engineering Award

Springboard was proud to attend the regional Engineering Development Trust (EDT) awards evening on 3rd July at Arup, London. The awards evening celebrated the successes of Year in Industry (YINI) students throughout the South East region and was an opportunity for STEM professionals across various fields to come together to support up and coming talent in the industry.

Lucy Bennett presenting from her standSpringboard’s own YINI student, Lucy Bennett, was one of 8 finalists who gave a short presentation on the contribution they had made to the company during their year. Lucy discussed many aspects of her year including the diverse role she had fulfilled in working through various stages of projects including writing proposals, weekly presentations to clients and writing sections of reports. Her passion for promoting diversity within Engineering was clear to see through the various initiatives she had driven throughout her year at Springboard; these include being a delegate at WES conferences, attending IET Women in Engineering Awards evenings as well as designing and running a 5-week STEM project at a local primary school. Lucy also demonstrated her considerable technical skill through a case study on a recent heart surgery project where her ability to contribute to projects at a high level was evident.

Lucy Bennett presentingAll eight Year in Industry Students gave phenomenal presentations; their achievements and the contributions they had made to their companies were exceptional by any standard. These ranged from writing a white paper on sustainable transport in Wales, to improving the performance of a weather anemometer by up to 30%. The two students chosen to progress onto the national finals in September were Eloise Knights from Carbon footprint, and Springboard’s Lucy Bennett. Both students showed solid technical understanding of their subjects, proficient presentation skills and an undeniable enthusiasm for Engineering.

The audience, of around 150-200 STEM professionals and fellow Year in Industry Students, were asked to submit a vote for the Audience Choice award, sponsored by Bion. Jane High, Director of Bion, announced Lucy Bennett as the winner for the award, and gave a special mention to Springboard for the opportunities they gave Lucy that allowed her to drive the STEM initiatives forwards.

Further awards included the South East Year in Industry Student of the Year which was presented to Evie Raynes for her creative video entry, as well as three highly commend students, Lucy Bennett, Springboard Pro, Ross Brogan, Centrica, and Dierbhile Sharkey, Bion. You can see Lucy’s video here.

Lucy Bennett receiving audience choice awardOverall, the event was great opportunity to showcase the up and coming talent in the industry and Springboard looks forward to the next stage at the Future Industry Leaders event in September.

  • EDT run various STEM initiates for people aged 11-25
  • The finals of the Future Industry Leaders Awards are free to attend and are held on 6th September at the IET. Register your attendance here
  • Lucy Bennett has been part of the Year in Industry scheme; to find out more about how taking on a Year in Industry student could benefit your business, or consider participating in the scheme yourself, information can be found here

Springboard attends WES Annual Conference 2017

Springboard recently attended this year’s annual WES conference, ‘Get connected: Empowering women and enriching careers’, held at University College London (UCL). The event brought together Engineers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, offering networking opportunities as well as a programme of talks packed with information, advice and coaching.

Professor Nigel Titchner-Hooker, UCL Dean of Engineering, opened the conference with his insight into the necessity of diversity within Engineering. Further speakers followed including Dr Andrew Tyler CBE who gave a perceptive keynote on ‘Men as Allies’ which addressed the topic of shifting the way gender equality is viewed by men from ‘apathetic’ to ‘positive’. When discussing why we need more women in Engineering, Tyler reasoned ‘we’re missing out on half of the brain power and talent of the population – and why would we want to do anything like that?’

The morning plenary, ran by Madeleine Morgan, focused on confidence and communication in career decision-making and revolved around the pyramid of career success. This emphasised the importance of the different aspects of career progression – from setting ambitious goals to having the resourcing around you to succeed.

Perhaps one of the most insightful parts of the day was a panel of representatives from three women’s networking groups discussing the value and role of such groups. Camilla Ween, WTS London, Maxine Symington, WiN UK, and Liz Bacon, STELLAR debated questions from the audience which ranged from the difficulty in naming a group – do you have ‘woman’ in the title? – to what are the key objectives a group should have. This was challenged and complimented by audience contributions of their first-hand experiences of women’s networking groups.

Further talks informed attendees on a range of topics from registration and chartership, to flexible working and how to get your employer on-board. Jacqui Hogan from MentorSET spoke about the many benefits for mentors and mentees, as well as how the MentorSET scheme is playing a crucial role in encouraging girls and women to pursue a career in STEM.

Overall, the day gave Engineers the opportunity to come together to focus on the issues women face in STEM, learn about techniques for overcoming adversity, and ultimately be more successful Engineers. The conference proved invaluable in linking up female Engineers in an industry that is particularly sparse of women.

Lucy Bennett, Springboard’s Year in Industry Student and delegate at the conference, has since drawn up an action list of events, ideas and discussions with the aim of increasing female representation within Springboard and the Engineering industry.

Useful links:

  • Women’s Engineering Society, WES, is a charity and professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists
  • Madeleine Morgan is based in Cambridge and offers various types of coaching from early career to personal development
  • WTS London networking group focuses on advancing women in transport
  • Women in Nuclear, WiN UK, looks to address the industry’s gender balance, improve the representation of women in leadership and to engage with the public on nuclear issues
  • STELLAR women’s network aims to inspire, promote, support and collaborate to address the lack of women in IT, Engineering, Mathematics and Science professions
  • MentorSET is a successful mentoring scheme to help women working in STEM which has been running since 2002 and has created many hundreds of mentoring pairs across the UK

Careers evening in Cambridge 9th Feb 2017

Join us at The Cambridge Brew House on Thursday 9th February from 18:30 – 20:30 to find out more about a career at Springboard.


Our consultants, including recent graduates, will be available to talk about their experiences, the sorts of projects they have worked on, and what it is like to be part of a small and rapidly growing company. Food and drink will be provided.

Springboard attends Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards

Lucy Bennett and Adam Nightingale at the IET Young Women Engineer Awards

Lucy Bennett and Adam Nightingale at the IET Young Women Engineer Awards

Springboard recently attended the 39th Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Woman Engineer of the Year awards ceremony at the IET’s Savoy Place headquarters in London. The event, which recognises outstanding female engineers in the UK, aims to highlight the achievements of young women working in Engineering.

Many notable people from the engineering community came out to celebrate the achievements of the young women nominated for awards and to show a commitment to addressing the systemic underrepresentation of women in engineering jobs in the UK.

Speakers included Roma Agrawal, the structural engineer behind the Shard skyscraper, who described the journey which has led to her becoming one of the country’s best known female engineers. She stressed the importance of building relationships as one of the key skills for success in engineering, and offered advice on tackling the ‘imposter syndrome’ that many people will experience at some point in their career.

Other speakers included the IET President Professor Jeremy Watson and Robot Wars’ resident Engineering Professor Noel Sharkey, who called for comprehensive research to be commissioned into the barriers which dissuade young women from entering a career in science and engineering and how they can be addressed.

All the finalists for the awards were inspirational spokespeople for Engineering, with Jenni Sidey, a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, winning the title of Young Women Engineer of the year.

The event provided the incredible opportunity to meet and speak with a range of pioneering women in Engineering and share experiences. It has helped raise awareness within Springboard, and provided us all with motivation to do everything that we can to support women in Engineering.

Lucy Bennett, Springboard’s current Year in Industry student, has since become a STEM ambassador to help encourage and inspire the next generation.

Useful links:

Springboard sponsors primary school science day

Springboard recently sponsored Science Day at Fen Drayton Primary School near Cambridge. The whole school devoted the entire day to exploring numerous aspects of physics, chemistry and biology through a series of hands-on experiments. Among the many subjects were:

  • What is blood made of?
  • What causes clouds?
  • How can you make crazy putty?
  • How do rockets work?
  • What are molecules made of?

The Head Teacher, Mrs Claire Turner, said that the company’s support raised the importance of science in the children’s minds because they could see that a real engineering-science company was interested in their learning. In addition, it helped to buy safety glasses and supplies for the day.

“Some of the children will likely work in the Cambridge science industry one day, and the day was a good way to ignite their enthusiasm”, she said.

Springboard’s ethos includes a strong element of mentoring and developing staff in their continuous learning, and so reaching out to primary school children is a way of starting that process right at an early stage.

But the final word on the matter goes to the children who wrote thank you letters to the company.

“It was great fun.” Ellie

“What I enjoyed was every single bit. And what I learnt was that science is so FUN!” Connor

“I learnt that some times some stuff don’t work.” Lilly-Rose

“Well, you made science day be the best day of my life.” Rhys