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Les West 

About me

I was born in a working class home in Birmingham UK just four months before the start of the Second World War, so my first memories are largely of bombing raids and air raid shelters. I had three older brothers who all joined different branches of the armed forces but, fortunately, none of them were old enough to fight in the war.


My mother died when I was 10 years old and I was brought up by my Father and Grandmother. I left school at 16 and went to sea working on an oil tanker. While at sea I developed an interest in engineering and came back to live in Britain for seven years, working at a large Iron and Steelworks. During this time I was able to gain qualifications equivalent to a graduate degree in Engineering.


In 1964 I emigrated with my wife and two daughters to Australia and joined the Institution of Engineers Australia as a Graduate Member. I eventually progressed to become a Fellow of the Institution and was employed part time as the first WA Assessor for applications for Chartered Membership. My career in Engineering in Australia began in the Iron Ore industry and, from 1982 I worked mostly on Woodside projects in Oil & Gas. I was able to travel extensively around the world for the Woodside projects and also had an interesting 15 years lecturing part time at Curtin University in a Masters course in Engineering Management. I also gave a modified version of this course to final year Civil Engineering undergraduates.


I retired in 2013 at 74 years old and in 2020 I was contacted by Dave Newman, with whom I had worked at Woodside. He told me about the Achievers Club and I was very happy to volunteer my services as a Mentor. I have been in this role since then.

Why I decided to become a Mentor...

I felt, and still feel, privileged to have the chance to use my years of experience in Maths and proficiency in English to benefit the education of young students from less fortunate backgrounds.

Why I would recommend becoming a Mentor...

It is a pleasant way to pay back a little to society in return for the benefits we have received from our own education and life experiences. It is also a way to keep our minds sharp and, interestingly, to keep learning.

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