More than 50 years in the PSA


Scientist Clive Stirling says it’s mind-boggling to have reached 50 years at his job, and with the PSA.

Clive Stirling (right) on the job

Clive Stirling (right) on the job

Having started at the now-defunct Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in 1966, Clive followed the organisation through a number of incarnations, and now finds himself at Callaghan Innovation, based in Auckland.

“I still enjoy working in the team,” Clive told Working Life, “every job is different but the variation is what keeps you interested.”

Pride in his work and the recognition of that is also important, with Clive remembering “with DSIR … you were held in very high regard, and in Callaghan it should be an aim to get that from customers – to be independent and reliable, that’s what I try to do.”

Clive broke into the industry through a cadetship, which he says gave him a good grounding as DSIR moved him around the different sections so he could get a feel for where he might want to focus. He’s currently working on a project with a colleague who started on a similar programme in 1975, so putting the resource into young scientists can clearly pay off long term.

Prior to the introduction of the internet, there was increased reliance on the knowledge that experts held in their heads, and Clive says he thinks of DSIR as “the human internet”. He fondly remembers working with “a lot of clever people, certainly even cleverer than me” and the ability to just pick up the phone and dial an expert to find your answer was vital.

A PSA member since day one, Clive appreciates the fact that as a union member, he has easy access to union expertise, meaning he can get on with his day job with the union in the background, a constant presence.

When reflecting back, it’s “quite a strange feeling to say 50 years”, but Clive’s not finished yet. Congratulations from all of us on reaching this milestone!