Our experienced technicians will provide you with hands-on assistance when using our facilities alongside guidance on individual projects.

We spoke to one of our technical team leaders, Reece Lillie to learn about his experience and how he supports students within Engineering.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Reece Lillie and I grew up in Pheasey, in North Birmingham a 20 minute drive from Aston University.

I studied Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering at College and then applied for the Apprentice Engineering role at Aston University, making me the first engineering apprentice since the 80s. During my apprenticeship I worked in the mechanical engineering machine shop alongside attending college to get my academic qualifications. I have then progressed through the technician roles to become the Mechanical, Biomedical and Design technical team leader.

How long have you worked for Aston University?

I have worked at Aston University since 1st August 2009 some of the projects I have undertaken include the redevelopment of the lower ground floor labs, managing the Formula Student project, introducing the F1 in schools STEM challenge and participating in various research projects throughout the faculty.

What courses do you look after as a technician?

As a technician I support a variety of courses within Engineering and Physical Sciences. My role includes managing the facilities and technical team that work within the labs, as well as providing support to students when needed.  I am also a faculty advisor for our Formula Student team that competes annually at the Formula Student UK competition at Silverstone.

What facilities can students use?

There is a variety of equipment, tools, and workspaces that students can use. There is the model shop, machine shop, and teaching labs. In these areas students can get help and support designing, manufacturing, and validating their designs, We also have bookable WASS hours so students can have 1:1 support with any questions they might have.

How do you work with students?

I work collaboratively with our students to ensure their designs are fit for purpose and designed for manufacture.  As we work closely with industry, this can include discussing the pros and cons of the materials to be used in their design (is it flexible enough? Hard wearing? Porous? What about cost? Is it within budget? Could you use an alternative?), discussing how users will interact with their product, helping with CAD design and ensuring that all of the parts of the model can come together to form a complete working design.

We also provide design reviews, software support, and any skills sessions or training that students may need.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love seeing students grow and develop their engineering knowledge and skills throughout their degrees. 

What advice would you give students thinking of starting an Engineering course at Aston?

Come and get involved, jump in, and immerse yourselves in the close-knit hands-on learning environment Aston has to offer and most of all enjoy yourself.

Where can students find you?

Students are welcome to pop down to L41 in the main building to ask any questions!