Interview with Bob Willis, 15 January 2021
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Communicating Connections
Scope and Content:
Bob Willis [BW] interviewed by Colin Fletcher [CF] about working at the Marconi Company. Recorded remotely via Squadcast.

[00:00:57] BW describes leaving school and getting an interview for apprenticeships at Marconi and Hoffman Pollard. Took on a craft apprenticeship at Marconi. Recalls the canteen, lecturers, and open days.

[00:07:46] Talks about the different jobs in his department, including circuit board assembly and handiwork on equipment. Describes his first role as a process control engineer and gaining extensive knowledge from his manager.

[00:14:22] Progressed to chief process control engineer and began delivering lectures and presentations to other Marconi sites. Recalls setting up internal training courses for his colleagues and writing technical papers.

[00:20:02] Describes delivering presentations at different sites around Chelmsford and creating Marconi’s first training video. Talks about moving into environmental testing, the practical elements of this work (including the use of lasers), and work trips abroad to Korea and other places.

[00:28:23] Describes the social life at Marconi, including Marconi Social Club. Talks about starting surface mount technology with a production engineer, Kevin Carlton. Helped to create training material with the Engineering Industrial Training Board (EITB). Joined a GEC-wide group and was offered a job as a surface mount coordinator. Left Marconi to go into contract manufacturing in Reading.

[00:36:18] Reflects on the break from Marconi and going on international trips. Comments that he enjoyed working with different members of staff. Describes travelling around the world with his wife, Joanne, and lists the countries he worked in.

[00:44:05] Comments on the opportunities that Marconi provided him with, as well as some minor setbacks. Talks about budgeting shortcuts.

[00:51:49] Reflects on his experience at Marconi and the life lessons he learnt there. Comments on what current engineers can learn from past accounts.
Dates of Creation:
15 January 2021
56 minutes 39 seconds
Creator Name:
Colin Fletcher, interviewer
Archivist Note:
Custodial History:
Recorded for the Communicating Connections project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).
Copyright transferred to ESVA
Physical Characteristics:
1 MP3 file
Related Unit of Description:
For a transcript of this recording, see SA 13/8/6/3
Dates of Description:
6 June 2022
Not Available:
Essex Sound and Video Archive: use digital copy available on Soundcloud