Apr 2023

Spotlight on EngTech: Robert Bonsell

In our ongoing series of case studies, Marketing Communications Co-ordinator Jordanne Allsopp chats to our members about their careers to date and how IGEM has supported them so far. This time, she spoke to Robert Bonsell, Control Engineer (Systems) at Cadent and IGEM EngTech member

Robert's career didn't initially begin in the gas industry; however, his passion for engineering was evident from an early age. Having obtained a diploma in Mechanical Engineering from college, he explored various career paths, one of which led him to work for the ambulance service, where he enjoyed “the fast-paced nature, having the sense of helping others in need and mentoring new staff.”


Despite the detours, Robert’s passion for learning how things work and solving complex problems ultimately led him to where he is now. After almost a decade, Robert made the decision to change course and get back into engineering to learn some new skills.

In 2020, he applied for the Engineering Training Programme (ETP) at Cadent, successfully winning a two-year placement with the UK’s largest gas distribution network.

The aim of the Cadent programme is to develop and invest in people who do not hold a university qualification in the required field. “This was perfect for me at the start of my career,” said Robert. “It gave me a solid base from which to work and learn.”

The programme combines academic training with technical, behavioural and leadership training. When Robert left, he had an HNC in Mechanical Engineering and a solid foundation on which to build his future in gas.

In his current capacity as a Control Engineer, Robert plays a crucial role in supporting and driving advancements to the distribution network's supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system and business applications databases. Additionally, he manages the Energy Control Centre, overseeing vital aspects of the telemetry system. Robert's expertise in these domains ensures the seamless operation and optimisation of the network, making him an indispensable asset to the team.


He said his previous experience across different fields has been invaluable to his present success, teaching him the skills he needs to do his work well. “Communication is an integral skill that I developed from engaging multiple members of the public, and it still helps me today when speaking to stakeholders in my day-to-day work. Similarly, you need to be able to solve problems in the medical sector, whereby you’re often presented with issues that need to be worked through to achieve a desirable outcome or common goal. And teamwork is up there as one of the most important skills to learn; being able to work effectively in a team to achieve the best result, but also knowing when to ask for support.”

Robert became an IGEM EngTech member in January and, since then, has enjoyed having a place to ask questions, learn new things, find learning opportunities and network with like-minded individuals.

“Being an IGEM member gives me credibility within the industry and gives me confidence in my own skills. It sets a standard for good work and demonstrates my professional abilities to others in the industry.”

Looking to the future, Robert enjoys learning about and discussing the exciting opportunities presented by biomethane and hydrogen. “There is a great future for gas networks, and this is a great opportunity to reduce carbon emissions while continuing to keep people warm,” said Robert. “If anyone reading this is considering a career in the industry, my advice is to go for it – do it and put yourself out there. The opportunities available for progression, learning, understanding and support are invaluable and not to be missed.”

Reflecting on his journey, Robert gratefully acknowledges the abundant support he received, both from his colleagues at Cadent and professionals in diverse gas networks. Moreover, he has been inspired by the remarkable efforts industry-wide to promote diversity, equality and inclusion in the gas sector, encouraging more individuals to join this dynamic field.

“There has always been plenty of support available, not just from other colleagues within Cadent, but also from other gas networks and professionals alike. Someone is always available to listen and help,” said Robert.