'Mr Gisburn fed my love of engineering.' Faye Banks, Head of Transmission, National Grid and Peter Gisburn, Teacher

“Mr Gisburn fed my love of engineering.”

Faye Banks, Head of Transmission, National Grid

Electrician shows the power of learning

At age 15, Peter Gisburn left school to become an electrician, and he spent the next 25 years on the job. But by age 40, he felt something was missing.

Peter had experienced his fair share of hard work, rising before dawn for years to descend into the darkness of mine shafts where he installed underground locomotive signals. Over the next two decades, he worked his way up from electrical apprentice to the position of Senior Engineer in the Health Service.

In need of a change, he discovered that teaching might be his calling. After retraining, it wasn’t long before he was offered a job at Wakefield College and found himself standing in front of a classroom full of expectant students.

“The first day as a teacher was terrifying,” Peter says. “Going into the classroom initially, I was teaching electrical apprentices, the same as I’d been. Now I was actually standing there as the person that’s supposed to be imparting all this knowledge and facilitating all this learning.”

But something happened as soon as he began to engage with his students — he found that teaching came quite naturally to him and that he loved teaching people of all abilities.

“It’s something that I knew more or less straight away was a good move. I just felt the buzz of helping them learn.”

Then another thing happened: the students began to respond to his methods. Today, his approach with students has been a proven success.

“Even though there were difficult students, it was far outweighed by the pleasure of passing on that knowledge, particularly when they were enquiring minds and wanted to learn.”

“It’s something that I knew more or less straight away was a good move. It was just the buzz of helping them learn.”

For many taking Peter’s course, the goal was to get a job as an electrician. For Faye Banks, it was a gateway to electrical engineering, and a way out of working 12-hour shifts while balancing a full course load at Wakefield.

Faye credits Peter with sparking her interest in Engineering. With his help she graduated with the highest marks, and went on to an apprenticeship in electrical engineering.

In the years since, Faye went on to win the Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year award and be named the youngest fellow in the history of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Today, she is the Head of Electrical Transmissions for the National Grid, and is among The Daily Telegraph’s Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering.

For Peter, Faye’s success is at the heart of why he became a teacher.

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