James Charles lends his design skills to a new engineering project in Antarctica

Aspiring mechanical engineer James Charles is helping to build a British research station in Antarctica.

Mr Charles, a second-year engineering student at Nottingham University, has landed a placement at the St Albans-based engineering consultancy Faber Maunsell — the company responsible for developing the new base for the British Antarctic Survey.

Mr Charles, 20, has been working on drawings of the structure, which will host scientists all year round in temperatures ranging from -5C to -40C. It will be raised on skis so that it can be moved.

“There has been a lot of liaising with the architects [Hugh Broughton] about how the structure will stand up and withstand the weather,” Mr Charles tells People.

So why don’t we hear more Jewish mothers boasting about “my son the engineer”? He acknowledges that his is not a typical calling in this community. “Engineering is quite badly misunderstood. It’s not all about car components. It is creative and about finding solutions.” He adds: “People should keep open-minded about it, as it’s a secure job. I think that in a couple of years, the City will be a pretty hairy place. In engineering, it’s a job that people need and benefits society.”

Mr Charles has been working on projects for several hospitals and universities, including designing a ventilation schematic for University College London.

He lives in Belmont and is a member of Belmont synagogue.

    Last updated: 4:59pm, July 17 2008