About us

Darren Hugheston-Roberts

Head of Machinery

Head of Machinery

Darren Hugheston-RobertsDarren Hugheston-Roberts

Head of Machinery

Tell us about yourself

I started off my engineering career at the age of 16 in October 1992 by securing a place at Princess Marina College in Arborfield, the Army Apprentice College for The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). Here I began my initial two-year trade training as a vehicle mechanic. During my basic trade apprenticeship, I was awarded an ‘Outstanding Student’ accolade and identified for accelerated trade training. This meant I was to attend what is known as a ‘Class 1 Trade’ course after three years in the field rather than five.

After attending my first posting as a Class 2 Vehicle Mechanic, I was loaded onto an early upgraders course at The Defence School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (DSEME) in Bordon. At the end of this course, I again received the Outstanding Student award and also received the GKN Defence Trophy for Engineering Achievement. As a result, I was identified for Artificer training. Artificers are the engineering Managers and Leaders of REME.

After gaining more hands-on experience to grow further as an engineer and a leader, I put myself forward for Artificer training and attended DSEME again to begin my 18-month Artificer course. This involved completing an HND in Mechanical Engineering, including an Engineering Project within 12 months and completing an extensive command, leadership and management course during the other 6 months. On its completion, I had finished at the top of my course and was sent out to my first unit as an engineering manager within a Formation Recognisance unit. Within 18 months I found myself commanding men and women of the highest calibre on the ground in Afghanistan.

From there I progressed through the ranks and appointment. After 25 years of service, I retired from the armed forces, leaving as a Warrant Officer Class 1 (Artificer Sergeant Major) for the Light Dragoons Battle Group, which was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my military career.

After leaving the forces, I joined a testing, inspection and certification (TIC) company as a Machinery Specialist and Engineering Consultant covering the whole of the UK and Ireland. During a stage of business growth, I put myself forward to become the Engineering Technical Service (ETS) Team Leader and was fortunate enough to be selected for the role. This allowed me to put more of my engineering management and leadership skills into play and I was soon put forward as an Emerging Leader of the business. Within 5 years, I had developed into the service Lead for the ETS team and also taken on the role of Technical Manager for the Machinery Approved Body of the business.

Why did you choose to apply to TÜV SÜD?

TÜV SÜD was already well known to me and it was an organisation that I aspired to join due to their standing within the TIC industry, particularly within Product Services and as an Approved/Notified Body.

Where do you work?

I am home-based in County Durham but I also work from the main TÜV SÜD Machinery Division office in Barnsley. For my hybrid working role, I work two days a week at the office and three days at home. Because I am home-based my travel and overnight expenses to the office are covered by the company.

What are your main areas of expertise?

My main areas of expertise are Engineering Management and Leadership with my engineering discipline focus now within machinery safety, inspection and certification.

What does your role involve? What are your main responsibilities?

My role involves leading what has traditionally been known as the Machinery Division. However, due to service growth the Machinery Division now also contains the newly established ATEX / UKEx team. This allows for a more rounded service capability to meet the future needs of the UK market.

My main responsibilities are managing the machinery business unit, providing leadership to the machinery team, and developing and growing the team. I’m also working closely with the Business Development Director to grow and enhance the team’s services into new areas.

Also, within my role I am a member of the Executive Management Team where I contribute to the development and implementation of the 3-5-year strategic plan for the business.

What most interests you about your role?

What really interests me within this role is working with and alongside the vast expertise within TÜV SÜD to support the many clients we have. Our clients often work at the cutting edge of current and emerging technology and being a part of that makes every day unique and exciting.

We have many different projects coming up. Although I cannot give too much detail, a very exciting project is an internal one where we are developing new software that will enable us to work even more closely with our clients. It will also mean we can provide a more efficient and digitally connected machinery safety service to our clients and partners.

What exciting developments have you seen at TÜV SÜD since you started?

The opening of Octagon Hub, our new EMC Test Facility down in Fareham. The facility is a £2.88 million test facility that was taken from concept to reality in under 10 months which is unbelievably impressive and it was a privilege to attend the grand opening.

What future trends do you see developing in your area of work?

I see the need for machinery certification provided by a UK Approved Body will grow over the next 5 years as we transition completely away from CE Certification. Another developing area is the demand for 3rd party involvement for ensuring machinery safety of new and emerging technologies, such as AI within machines as we progress further into Industry 4.0.

What is your biggest challenge?

One of my biggest challenges is ensuring that TÜV SÜD not only continues to meet the needs of our clients in this rapidly developing industry, but also to ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of innovation within the TIC industry. This will ensure that we maintain our customer focus and continue to develop more innovative and efficient methods of working with our clients to ensure machinery safety.

What do you see as the top perk of working for TÜV SÜD?

Having not been here long the main areas that stand out for me at the moment is the people I work with, be that my team, the UK team and my international colleagues. Another area I have found to be exceptional is the feeling of being invested in. Soon I will be starting the Advanced Leadership Programme in Munich which is a really exciting prospect. I’m also looking forward to having the opportunity to network within the broader global group.

How have TÜV SÜD supported you?

TÜV SÜD have supported me throughout my onboarding. I have regular 1-2-1s with my line manager and also the previous Head of Machinery.

Describe your fellow workers

Professional, friendly and supportive.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying for a role similar to yours?

If you are passionate about working in the TIC Industry, I would recommend that you put TÜV SÜD at the very top of the list of employers you want to work for and apply for a role as soon as it comes available. TÜV SÜD is globally recognised as going beyond regulatory compliance, we inspire trust in a physical and digital world and create a safer and more sustainable future.

Find out more about our machinery safety services and our machinery safety training courses.

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