Kevin Stubbs fine-tuned the navy's deadliest weapons for more than 23 years. He also made sure for another year that the rack railway up Snowden in the Welsh mountains did its job.
Aged 42 and with two children, he recently moved north and is a training co-ordinator with a DIY firm. But teaching has attractions.
Mr Stubbs admits he is tempted by the BSc Technology with Education course if the financial numbers add up. "It's by no means cut and dried and if the family does not benefit, I will not consider it," he said.
But working with younger people and passing on skills has been with him for many years as an instructional engineer in the navy.
"You are always teaching those younger than you and being a trainer in a different area reminds me how much I enjoy that," he said.
Mr Stubbs admits a teacher's salary "is not the be-all and end-all" and that ultimately it will come down to quality of life. He has already been advised he would enter year two of the four year course.
Stuart Clark, aged 18, and Murray Apedaile, 17, are typical of current recruits to the mechatronics college course, which provides a broad range of engineering skills. Maths and microelectronics are just two of the elements.
Both might consider the teaching option once they complete their course but admit that they are likely to look to industry.
When engineers fresh out of college can reputedly earn up to pound;60,000 by working for oil companies anywhere in the world, the classroom may not be their first port of call.