Sergeant Craig Fulford – IET Armed Forces Technician of the Year 2015

From working round the clock to save lives in Kenya and Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis to a place on stage at a glittering IET Achievements Awards ceremony. That was a year in the life of Sergeant Craig Fulford who won the IET’s Armed Forces Technician of the Year last November, a prize for armed forces technicians who are currently members of the UK armed forces and are recognised for exceptional engineering contribution to a product or service.

Sergeant Fulford is employed by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as a medical and dental technician. He is personally responsible for ensuring that £1.5 million worth of medical equipment is in full working order and available to be transferred anywhere in the world with just days’ notice. He was nominated for the IET award, which includes a £1,000 cash prize, by his superior commander. “I am extremely proud to have won the award – it was completely unexpected as I was up against some really strong competition,” Sergeant Fulford said. “Not only does it recognise my own achievements, it also highlights the many technicians like myself who keep our armed forces prepared and ready for all eventualities whether it’s for defence or humanitarian purposes which I’m part of.”

In over 12 years in the army Sergeant Fulford, now aged 28, has been posted to Canada, Cyprus, Germany and Iraq twice. But it was his work in Kenya and Sierra Leone that won him the IET award. “In Kenya I was involved in supporting medics treating anything from dental to pregnancy or any illnesses thrown at them. We had a basic military hospital and a local pop-up clinic where I was on call to support anything. Dental was key; we were pulling teeth out left, right and centre,” he said. “Then I was deployed to Sierra Leone with three weeks’ notice. I left just before Christmas 2014 and stayed for four months as the sole technician responsible for inspection, repair and maintenance of the equipment within the Ebola treatment facility in a military hospital and also a charity-run field hospital.”

Sierra Leone was particularly challenging, Sergeant Fulford recalled: “We had intensive care facilities and eight ward beds, but we also had a lot of breakdowns due to the high temperatures out there. My workshop in the field hospital was basically two metres squared at the end of the intensive care beds in theatre. Although I was not directly involved with patients, the equipment came to me after being used. It was important that there were procedures in place to reduce the risk of infection due to contamination, a constant reminder of the environment I was working in. The infection control procedures were of a very high standard within the hospital.”

Sergeant Fulford, who got married in March 2016, has since taken up a new role in the 16 Medical Regiment, which includes airmobile and parachute deployments, in Colchester where his new wife is already based. “It’s a high-tempo job and I’m expecting to be given even shorter notice on deployment,” he explained. “I am really enjoying the medical and dental side and am fulfilling all my aspirations. I’m also getting the chance to do so many qualifications that will help me enter civilian life when I complete my service.”

And he encouraged other armed forces technicians to enter the IET awards, which are now open until the end of May. “The awards ceremony was just brilliant,” Sergeant Fulford said. “I was in the company of scientists and other engineers and when my name was read out I really was over the moon. It was wonderful to be recognised by my superior commander, and I’ve received two personal letters from individuals who would not have known my name otherwise as well as lots of texts from friends and colleagues.”
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The Institution of Engineering and Technology opens search for best UK Armed Forces apprentices and technicians for annual awards

  • Winners of IET Apprentice, Technician and Armed Forces Technician awards will receive £1,000 each

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has opened its call for entries to find the most exceptional apprentices and technicians from the United Kingdom Armed Forces in 2016.

The Apprentice and Technician awards recognise the excellent contribution and commitment made to engineering or technology. They also aim to raise the profile and impact of the high quality work they do day-to-day in their jobs.

UK Armed Forces apprentices and technicians are eligible to apply for one of two categories: The IET Apprentice of the Year and the IET Armed Forces Technician of the Year.

Winners are judged on their engineering and technical ability, their knowledge and understanding and their efforts in promoting engineering, whether in schools, through volunteer work or as role models.

Alongside a winner’s trophy, awarded at a prestigious prize-giving ceremony in London in November, there is a cash prize of £1,000 for each winner and two years’ free membership of the IET.

Last year, the Armed Forces Technician prize was awarded to Sergeant Craig Fulford for his work in Kenya and Sierra Leone at the height of the Ebola Crisis.

As an electronic technician serving with the British Army Medical and Dental Technician Team, Craig was responsible for maintaining and repairing equipment critical to fighting Ebola. On winning the award he said:

“Not only does the prize recognise my achievements, but it also highlights the many technicians like myself who keep our Armed Forces prepared and ready for all eventualities, whether it is for defence purposes or humanitarian purposes, which I’m particularly proud to be a part of.”

Linda Deleay, IET Awards & Prizes Manager, said:

“Serving technicians like Craig are very often the unsung heroes of our Armed Forces. We hope that the IET Armed Forces Technician Award will help us in highlighting the people who play an important role in the armed forces, whether it be in the front line or behind the scenes – both are equally as important.”

Entrants can find out more about the Apprentice and Armed Forces Technician Awards

Any entries must be submitted by Friday 27 May 2016 and the winners will be announced at the IET Achievement Awards Ceremony, which will take place in London on Wednesday, 16 November 2016.