Matt Birtles (Ergonomist)
Class of 1987
Principal Ergonomist for HSE
"Since I left Meadowhead (it was then Jordanthorpe) I went to Abbeydale Grange sixth form and then onto Loughborough University. I did a degree in ergonomics, an unusual science that looks at design and how to make things (like products, jobs, furniture) fit the human users.
After my degree I worked on the design of the interior of a car (the FIAT Punto, Tipo and Brava) but decided to have a break and so went off travelling. I spent about 7 years away, with loads of time in India, and Asia, Australia, Hong Kong, and ended up in Israel.
Because I already had a degree I could work in my profession, and I got ergonomics work around the world, working for a while and then travelling for a while, and working again....and so on. Definable beat getting bar jobs for pay! I came back to England in 2001, married and ready to stick around. Now I'm a Principal Ergonomist for HSE, where I do a lot of safety work, investigating incidents like fairground ride accidents, and helping to make workplaces safer and workers healthier. I love my job and find it really interesting. The best bit of my day though is riding my motorbike to work and hanging out with my kids, the worst bit is still doing the washing up!"
"The best bit of advice someone gave me once was to go into further education. It meant more fun, more pay and once the degree is over more enjoyable, interesting work. The best advice I've learned myself though is that it's the things you don't do that you regret the most."