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Picture of Dave Pye
Picture of Dave Pye

St Helens College staff members, past and present came together for an afternoon of celebrations to mark the special 40-year anniversary of long-serving Mechanical Engineering tutor, Dave Pye.

Since starting at the College 40 years ago, Dave has taught and inspired thousands of students across St Helens and beyond and has played a key role in shaping them into the fantastic engineers that they are today.

To mark the special occasion, the College held an afternoon of celebrations for Dave’s continued commitment, inviting past and present colleagues from the Engineering department to join us in commending Dave for his hard work and contributions. Dave was thrilled to be joined by some familiar faces, who came back to the college for the occasion.

We enjoyed an afternoon of cake and story sharing, hearing from Dave’s ex-colleague and lifelong friend, Jim Clarke, who worked with Dave for over 30 years in the Engineering department as a Fabrication and Welding Lecturer. Jim took us on a trip down memory lane, to share Dave’s story from his time as a student to the admirable tutor that he is today.

Dave’s journey into Engineering first began after leaving school in 1979, where he secured his first full-time job at a local car repair shop. His dad however, Mr Pye Senior, had greater ambitions for his son and secured him a Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship at a Cellophane Manufacturing Company, British Sidac, in Sutton, where he first joined St Helens College as a student on our ‘Engineering Industry Training Board’ course.

During the early 1980’s, there was a worldwide collapse in demand for cellulose film seeing the closure of British Sidac’s Sutton Oak plant in 1982. Dave managed to complete his apprenticeship and began to look for new ventures, spotting an advertisement for a Building Technician at St Helens College, where his journey back to college began.

Dave was appointed the job in 1983 on a temporary contract for 12 months, but soon became a much-revered member of staff within our Construction department. It was around this time in 1990, that he was headhunted by former staff members, Bill McCormick and Roy Glover, who were keen for Dave to join the Engineering department, given his industry experience and enthusiasm.

Dave started his new permanent role as a Technician in our Mechanical Engineering department where he continued to impress. It was here where Dave got his first taste of teaching when he was given the opportunity to help with part-time classes.

Picture of Steve Schofield, Dave Linge, Jim Clarke, Dave Pye, Keith Preston, Ken Scarrett, Neil Johnson, Phil Nunnery
From left to right: Steve Schofield, Dave Linge, Jim Clarke, Dave Pye, Keith Preston, Ken Scarrett, Neil Johnson, Phil Nunnery

In July 1992, following his teaching success, Dave was appointed as one of the College’s first Mechanical Engineering Instructors, leading on provision in the workshops. Dave came full circle, teaching the ‘Engineering Industry Teaching Board’ group, 13 years after he himself had studied on the course. His first workshop as a tutor, was also the former brickwork workshop that he used to service during his time as a Building Technician, just five years earlier.

In 1995, Dave made the move with our Engineering department from their former home at our Town Centre Campus to our STEM Centre Campus in Pocket Nook, and completed various teaching and assessing qualifications, seeing him promoted to a Mechanical Engineering Lecturer in 2003.

40 years on, and Dave continues to inspire the next generation of engineers. He has been a helping hand for many students over the years and has proudly watched as they have gone on to do amazing things in their careers!

Dave has had the privilege of teaching father and sons, helped to train Instructors and Technicians here at the college and worked with former students, who have progressed to senior positions within their respective companies, and regularly come back to the college to recruit their own apprentices, with the help of their former tutor, Dave.

Jim went on to say “Dave was always a conscientious and helpful member of staff. During his time in education, Dave has seen many changes and challenges throughout the years, but he has always been ready to adapt and embrace change and has always had the Colleges best interests at heart.”

He added “Dave has come a long way since starting on a temporary contract to the dusty workshops of the 80’s, and now working in the exemplary state of the art workshops that he works in. Dave will always give 100% and continues to be an inspiration to both staff and students.”

We had a wonderful afternoon reminiscing with Dave, hearing all about his happy memories at the College, where he said, “Thank you everyone for taking the time to pull this together and join us today, I have been well and truly surprised, and so grateful for all the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. I’ve seen many changes at the college over the years. I’ve worked under 8 principals, saw staff and students come and go, but being able to make a difference to my student’s lives is something that will never change.“

Engineering Tutor Celebrates 40 Years’ Service at St Helens College