Engineering apprentice Joe has loved learning on the job and enjoys the variety that comes with working for a company like ElringKlinger. He continues to further his education and has also gone back into schools to promote engineering to younger pupils.
What’s your name?
Where do you work?
ElringKlinger (GB), Redcar.
What's your job title?
Technical services apprentice.
How long have you been there?
Since October 2011.
Why did you choose to take the apprenticeship route?
I started my apprenticeship by applying to ECITB, which contacted ElringKlinger and I was then offered an interview. I chose the apprenticeship route because I knew I could gain valuable experience from working in a commercial environment and also receive qualifications from college and university at the same time.
It also appealed to me as engineering was my favorite subject in school and also my most successful. So I thought what better way to get hands-on experience and earn a wage whilst studying! For the past two years I have been studying at Hartlepool College, completing my Level 3 engineering qualification and after this, I returned to the college to do my HNC through Teesside University.
What's the work and day-to-day experience like?
The day-to-day experience is enjoyable and very interesting, especially due to new business continuously being brought into our company. As a result of this, the factory has changed significantly; including two new automated presses being installed, as well as a 50 per cent factory expansion.
What did you expect when you started work? Did anything surprise you?
I didn’t really have specific expectations about what it would be like so remained open-minded and just keen to get started. Certain aspects of work did surprise me however; especially after finishing my first year of college and coming into work I was amazed how much everyone was willing to help me, and take the time to show me things that at first I would not have understood.
What's the best thing about the job?
The best part is definitely getting involved with different projects, whether this is visiting customers and working with them, or office-based work. The main plus of the office-based work is the vast experience I’m gaining through engagement with colleagues – as an apprentice I am constantly learning from the people around me.
And the worst?
There are not many negative points to do with my apprenticeship; however sometimes the college work can be difficult. Fortunately ElringKlinger have a ‘Year in Industry’ programme with local universities, so if I am ever stuck I know that help isn’t too far away!
Have you had the chance to get involved with any special projects?
There have been several projects that I’ve become involved with since joining the company, which have included two trips to local schools to help young people on engineering projects. One of the projects involved going into a school for a day and helping students build a model rollercoaster. I enjoyed this as I was able to use some of my knowledge and tips from my work with ElringKlinger, plus it was also a lot of fun!
The other project was a bit more intense as it was once a week for eight weeks; this entailed teaching the class the processes of what we do and how we do it. The pupils were then set the task of producing a shaped heat shield, similar to one we had shown them, and they had to come up with material selection and also which type of machinery they were to use. While this took a lot of preparation and commitment, it was rewarding to see it through to completion and watch the students’ development.
Is there any advice you’d like to pass on to those about to enter an engineering workplace?
My advice to anyone thinking about starting a career in engineering would be to look into the apprenticeship route, especially if they are just leaving school and wondering which step to take next.
I would also recommend that when applying for a job, make sure that this is something that you feel passionate about, so that you can enjoy work as well as receive the benefits of forwarding your career.