Ashley Vines | Design Engineer apprentice

Ashley Vines Design Engineer Apprentice at Sitec

My path

I was doing the first year of my A levels, but I really wanted to do an apprenticeship. When I finished Year 11 there wasn’t much out there and the school didn’t really give me much information about them. I was steered towards A levels and university, but I wasn’t really enjoying it that much.

So I kept looking for an apprenticeship throughout the first year of my A Levels and managed to find one here. I wanted to do something more hands-on; to have the same career but a different path. The idea of gaining experience and having an actual job really appealed to me. I didn’t like being in full time education without earning much money.

Application process

I looked on the National Apprenticeship website, and searched for engineering apprenticeships in my area and found this one on there. I had to upload my cv and go to the college to do an assessment. The college then recommended me for an interview. I went into Sitec for an interview, got interviewed by a Senior Designer, another apprentice and the person in charge of the training.

Making the transition

The working hours and being in a professional environment was quite different to being in school. The first year I was at college the whole time so that made it a bit easier, it was different because I was doing manual things. That was quite good because my favourite subjects at school were the practical ones like Design Technology.

In the first year I learned about machining and general engineering. In the second and third year (level 3), it was more theoretical; maths, property of materials, forces that we use in our jobs to calculate the stresses of the components we’re designing.

Experience

I didn’t have any experience with aircraft or anything like that - I hadn’t designed anything before, and I’ve been taught from scratch.

At the moment I specialise in structures, but soon I'll be working on fuel and electrical systems. When you start they ask you what you would like to specialise in and they try and find space in that team for you. In college we focus more on the academic side like maths, plus we do a bit of CAD.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the designing side, knowing that you are actually making something. You actually have to think about how you are going to improve something.