I did a year of A levels but I was looking for an apprenticeship. I did a week of work experience with Airbus years ago and since then I’ve always wanted to get involved in aeronautical.I was attracted to the idea of learning whilst in the job, gaining work experience as well as academic qualifications.
It was more involved more relevant what I wanted to do as a career. With A Levels they’re more general and you can do anything. But I’ve always wanted to be an engineer and thought it best to get work experience with the apprenticeship as well as the qualifications.
I found the vacancy on the college website, which linked to the National Apprenticeship website. Having sent in my CV, I went into the college to do an assessment. The results then went to Sitec who then phoned me up asking me to come to an interview.
The best bits
I love everything about the design side and knowing that what you are producing will be flying in the sky. We’ve had experience of visiting the shop floor on airbus and seeing the part we designed on the aircraft itself.
I’m working on daily repairs of aircraft – if there is a problem we get called and have to explain how to fix the problem. I’ve worked on many products within Sitec, with the apprenticeship they move you around often so you can get vast knowledge of each individual program. After completion, you then work where there are vacancies – you still move around to where you are needed.
What kind of skills do you think you have developed?
Academic side the maths and science has helped in the workplace, also working within the office has helped me develop. Making sure you are up on time, punctuality etc.
How was your training delivered?
First year were hands on in the workshop working on the machines? The second year and third year was L3, and one day a week at college. It was more academic, a lot of computer stuff, a bit of CAD, Maths, Science and looking at general subjects.
At the moment I am doing my HNC which is more targeted on Mechanical Engineering which is that I want to specialise in, which is also one day a week at college.
What support did you receive from your college tutors?
Every fourth week there was an hour and half session where we could go and see tutors if we had any issues. They were usually pretty good, so I personally never had any major issues come up. The tutors were always there if you needed them.
What appeals to you about working in this industry?
I’ve always had an interest in aircraft. It helps you enjoy it a lot more when you know what you are doing will be used in the future.
What advice would you give someone who wants to do an Apprenticeship in the Aeronautical industry?
Go and do it. You can obtain the same qualifications through an apprenticeship as you can by staying in full time education and even going to university - as there’s always the extra option that you can carry on (to do a university level qualification). You are also learning on the job.
Have you benefited not going the traditional route (i.e. A levels and University)?
Yes a lot you learn how to work in a workplace as well. If you are going for a job against someone who has come out of university, you are going to have all the work experience on top of the qualification. It makes you more desirable.
Has your role helped you decide what you want to specialise in?
Yes because you work in all the departments you get experience in all the different aspects of engineering and can then decide which one you like best.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
A fully qualified design engineer and working with same company. I like to specialise in design, structures or systems.