Paul Masser is a Continuous Improvement Lead and a STEM Ambassador. In answering the STEM NOW Q&A, Paul teaches us that Apprenticeships are a great way to get into a STEM career...
Who or what first inspired your curiosity in STEM?
PM: My Father worked for a Civil Engineering company as a Quantity Surveyor and would always bring Blue Prints of new projects - Telecom Tower, Thames Barrier, Channel Tunnel home. I found these fascinating.
What was your personal journey into STEM, or your chosen field?
PM: Initially lined up for a Sponsored Degree course with Austin Rover in Production Engineering my personal circumstances changed and I took an Apprenticeship locally with Marconi Communications in Electronics. Electronics was OK but I couldn't touch or feel it. I didn't realise early on how important that was to me, so I took a role in the Drawing Office for a more electro/mechanical career in Mechanical Design, but with a specialty in small/handheld equipment.
Have you encountered/overcome any boundaries along your STEM journey?
PM: In the early days I felt not getting my degree was a barrier, but later found out the common sense and pragmatism go a long way. Online Learning is also great to keep skills current.
What is something you are working on/have worked on that excites you?
PM: In 2012, after an amazing 5 years in Canada, I returned to work on a disruptive technology - fluid filled, variable focus lenses for use in the application of prescription eye wear. That technology is now being applied to AR/VR headsets.
What has been your most memorable moment as a STEM Ambassador and why?
PM: The first time I could see someone "click" just how varied and rewarding it can be to design and create (not just consume) cool new tech.
Why is it important that young people are introduced to STEM?
PM: We are recognised globally as Inventors, and we need to keep the spark alive.
What advice would you give a young person considering a future in STEM?
PM: I started by understanding how things worked. Take things apart, and understand them. Think how they were built, and the other technologies they included, and how they could be improved. Find your passion, whether it be pure science, design, whatever and see where it leads. Think of ideas to solve a problem you or someone close to you has.
Why is diversity and inclusion in STEM fields important?
PM: A teams strength is its diversity.
What are your hopes for the future of STEM?
PM: That future generations under stand it has to be real world first, virtual world second.