Josh Brough

I'd like that job: Josh Brough, production engineer, Siemens

Joining Siemens as an apprentice, Josh now works as a full-time production engineer for the company and feels he's learnt something new every day on the job. He believes more needs to be done to change the perception of manufacturing and to get more young people into the sector.

What’s your name?

Josh Brough.

Age?

21.

Where do you work?

Siemens manufacturing plant in Congleton, Cheshire.

What's your job title?

Production engineer.

How long have you been doing that?

Since September 2011.

How did you get there?

After speaking to teachers at school, I liked the idea of a career in manufacturing but wasn’t sure how to get into it. I wanted to be able to earn while learning the trade and also gain some qualifications, so an apprenticeship was an ideal route for me. I had begun doing some research into different companies offering apprenticeships when I saw that Siemens was recruiting new apprentices at a plant nearby. My family and friends encouraged me to go for it and I haven’t looked back since.

Throughout the three year apprenticeship my time was split between the Siemens plant and a South Cheshire College, so I was able to gain valuable practical experience while also completing my engineering qualifications. After my apprenticeship finished, I was offered the role of production engineer at Congleton in September 2011, which I was delighted to accept.  

What's the work and day-to-day experience like?

As a production engineer, my role is to support the production team as a whole. The production team will come to us when they need efficient solutions to the production challenges they may face. Production engineers need to be innovative problem-solvers, able to think outside the box to find a solution. I also work as part of a team, which gives me the opportunity to work alongside experienced and skilled engineers.

What's the best thing about the job?

Through my three year apprenticeship and now as a production engineer I’ve learnt something new every day. I’m really proud of my work too, being able to use my ideas to support the production line is really rewarding.

And the worst?

I think more young people need to be encouraged to consider a career in manufacturing and engineering. There is a current perception of it being outdated or old fashioned but this just isn’t true. More needs to be done to improve its image and to make school leavers aware of the career opportunities available to them. I think the sector as a whole can be viewed quite negatively when compared to other career routes such as those in the professional services, but there are many ways to enter what is an exciting and fulfilling career.

What standout things have you got involved in during your time at Siemens?

One of the projects that really stands out for me is taking part in the Green Power Race challenge. This is an annual competition held at the Silverstone racing circuit at which engineers from different countries, companies and colleges design and build a battery powered racing car to compete at the circuit. The winning team is the one whose car lasts for the most laps on the circuit. This was a great experience for me and was a great way to develop my engineering skills and meet other competitors.

How would you describe life as a working engineer?

The role is very hands on, which is what I enjoy and why I chose an apprenticeship. I like being able to learn as I go, picking up tips and advice from others and working with them to solve challenges. I also like the independence and responsibility of coming up with my own ideas and solutions.

What did you expect when you started work? Was it what you expected or did anything surprise you?

When I started work I was not sure what to expect, and to be honest it was quite a scary thought. I imagined that, being an apprentice, I would be given simple, even sometimes mundane tasks until I achieved a required level to start taking on real engineering tasks. This was not the case as Siemens allowed me to shadow engineers and carry out engineering tasks, therefore giving me a head start from a technical point of view.

Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?

I would really recommend the apprenticeship route as it gives you practical first-hand experience, while still being able to go to college to complete qualifications. A lot of young people like me are keen to start working and earning as soon as they finish school, so apprenticeships are ideal for this. There are some real opportunities to be successful in the manufacturing industry. Young people just need more advice as to the possibilities available to them, and to hear from past apprentices like me about this career path.

What do you think you'll do next?

At the moment, I’m happy building on the skills I learnt in my apprenticeship and taking on more responsibility on the production floor. I live in Congleton, so working at the Siemens site is ideal for me. My short-term plans are to become an expert in what I do, so I’m the “go-to” man for any challenges in production.

My career ambition is to be the head of an engineering team. I would like the responsibility of being a team leader but I’d still want to remain hands-on myself, so the role of head engineer would allow me to do this.

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