Mike Buttery

Former Wilberforce student Mike Buttery is living the dream, having landed his ideal job working as a Project Scientist for the European Space Tribology Laboratory (ESTL) in Warrington.

Studied at Wilberforce: 2002 – 2004

Former Wilberforce student Mike Buttery is living the dream, having landed his ideal job working as a Project Scientist for the European Space Tribology Laboratory (ESTL) in Warrington.

Mike specialises in tribological research, which means he tries to ensure the moving parts of spacecraft and satellites can withstand the severe environment in space. His specialist research has seen him invited to conferences across Europe to present his findings.

His work has now stirred interest in the States and he has been invited to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to give a presentation on his research at the 40th Aerospace Mechanism Symposium.

He said, “I feel privileged, and very lucky to be invited to NASA. Over 95% of the work we do is for European customers, so to see interest in my research from the States is a big deal.”

Mike, an ex-Withernsea High School pupil, studied at Wilberforce College from 2002 –2004. He studied for A levels in Physics, Maths, ICT, General Studies and Music, achieving two A grades, two B grades and one C.

He then went on to study for a first class degree in Astrophysics from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moore’sUniversity.

Mike found college an enjoyable experience and feels it helped make the transition to university an easier process.

He said, “I knew I wanted to continue in education after school and it made sense to me that a college would be better at teaching people of my age. The choice of Wilberforce was easy – in my opinion, it’s the best college in Hull!

“Being at college was brilliant in comparison to school. For me, the main way the college helped was to provide a bridge between school and university. The atmosphere of college was a good transition. After the rigidity of high school, the ability to express yourself is fantastic.”

Despite being interested in space and the universe from a young age, Mike wasn’t sure what he wanted to do at college and chose his courses around his intended career choice of music technology.

However, he is glad he opted to strive for his dream job and has some advice for Year 11 pupils who are struggling to decide what to do at college:

“If you not sure what you want to do in life, don’t worry. Not having a clue what you want to do is absolutely fine and very normal.

“If you’ve got a dream job in mind then go for it! Sometimes it seems like these kinds of “dream careers” are so unreachable, that there’s no chance of getting them, but that’s not true. Everyone is looking for bright, intelligent, and enthusiastic young people.

“I’m very lucky to do what I do, and it’s a fantastic feeling to know that I’m contributing in some unique way to furthering our understanding of the universe and our place in it. It’s even better to know I’m getting paid for it!”