FROM being a little boy, Scott Parkin was always tinkering: taking things apart, putting them back together again, fascinated by how they worked.

Now a father-of-two himself, Scott’s passion for engineering has taken him around the world with the Red Arrows and then back home to County Durham to help build a new generation of trains.

Not bad for a lad who grew up in a working-class County Durham family, the son of a delivery driver and shop worker.

“I count myself to be lucky – it’s been a dream come true, says Scott, who now goes into schools to inspire children about career opportunities in his latest role with Hitachi.

Scott, 34, was born in Durham’s Dryburn Hospital, went to Framwellgate Moor School, joined the RAF as an aircraft technician at 16, and has never looked back.

Joining up at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire in 2003 before moving to RAF Marham in Norfolk five years later, he quickly progressed to the rank of corporal. The first ten years of his career were spent working on Tornado F3 fighter planes before progressing to Tornado GR4 bombers.

He first applied to become part of the Red Arrows support team in 2006, and it was during a second posting to Afghanistan that the call came through to say: “You’re off to the Red Arrows when you get back.”

In 2012, the County Durham lad transferred to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire to take on a role as Senior Aircraft Technician, responsible for ensuring the safety of the world’s most famous aerobatic display team.

He worked in a variety of disciplines on the iconic Hawk aircraft at Scampton and became “Dye Team Leader”, travelling to shows to make the red, white and blue dye that it so synonymous with Red Arrows displays. He also became reserve for what’s known as “The Circus” – an elite band of flying engineers who follow the Red Arrows around the world for airshows.

“There I was one day, sitting in the back seat of a Hawk, being flown to Greece,” he recalls. “Not many people can say they’ve experienced that. I saw a lot of the world and it was an unforgettable experience.”

Scott admits it would have taken a lot to drag himself away from that jet-setting lifestyle but when Hitachi brought train-building back to the home of the railways, he found himself wanting to be part of it.

Scott and his wife Debbie had just had their little boy, Caleb, and it was time to be more grounded.

“I loved the poetry of it and it gave me the chance to come home to the North-East and spent more time with my family,” he recalls. “It was also an opportunity to be at the beginning of something really exciting – to start a new factory from scratch.”

Recently promoted to Section Leader of a multi-faceted team at the Aycliffe plant, Scott is also now father to baby Georgia and life is running smoothly down the track.

He’s at the end of the ScotRail project, building trains for the Edinburgh to Glasgow route, and will soon be part of the team making the fleet of Azuma trains for the East Coast Mainline. Hitachi will be building 65 in all and some are already in service.

“I’m always looking at the next step and striving to be the best I can,” says Scott, who has embarked on a Level 5 course with the Institute of Leadership and Management.

He’s also enjoying going into schools with Durham Education Business Partnership, urging youngsters to follow their dreams.

“Stick in at school but don’t just conform to what your friends tell you to do,” is his advice. “Make sure your qualifications match up to your interests and just go for it.”

Scott Parkin went for it – and it’s fair to say it’s been quite a ride.