National Apprenticeship Week – thoughts from our engineering apprentice
By Barney Jacklin, former Engineering Apprentice, now Engineering Technician at 42T
What made you want to take the apprenticeship route?
Throughout school I found that technology and science lessons were the ones that I was most interested in, especially into GCSE where the option of Product Design and Engineering became available. ICT was also an option that aided my career goals.
During these lessons I was able to use metalworking machinery like lathes, mills, and welding equipment. I could also add creativity in designing through sketches, research, computer aided design (CAD) and web design.
I continued with Maths, Product Design, and ICT in my A-levels, but after the first year had decided full-time education wasn’t for me. So, I looked for an apprenticeship where I could learn in a more practical way and earn money whilst doing so.
What do you enjoy about your role?
In September 2019 I joined 42 Technology (42T) as an Engineering Apprentice, based at their office near Cambridge. I’ve enjoyed working on a wide variety of projects in diverse sectors such as consumer, transport, industrial and medical. The variety of sectors and types of work allows me to constantly develop a wider set of skills and knowledge. I find this very enjoyable as it allows me to see a vast selection of engineering processes, development methods, problem solving and ways of working through and completing projects.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
As the apprentice, all days vary, but it mainly consists of lab work on projects and ensuring my tasks are up to date with my responsibilities in the lab, workshop and office.
Every day starts with getting the free lunch ordered (!), checking tasks, reviewing any systems I’m responsible for – such as calibration, PAT tests and fire safety checks – alongside any other tasks I have on the go.
Then it’s heading down to the lab to get on with making parts, putting together test rigs and assemblies, testing existing rigs, analysing and reporting on results and progress to the project team. I also keep the lab and workshop tidy and functional.
What do you do for the 20% off the job learning aspect of your apprenticeship?
Alongside working three days a week at 42T, I also spend two days a week at Cambridge Regional College completing a Level 3 Diploma in Product Design and Engineering. This gives me practical learning with machining, fabrication, manufacturing methods, health and safety, electronics, CAD, business development, maths, and mechanics. I enjoy this combination as, unlike full time college or university, it gives me valuable work experience as well as qualifications.
Working towards a Level 3 Diploma gives me options for future education. Whether in the form of more part-time college work getting a HNC or HND which are higher education certificates and degrees, or part/full time university studies for a degree and potentially going further to a master’s degree. This will then allow me to work full-time whilst working towards becoming a chartered engineer, and hopefully consultant, where I can continue to develop my skills day-to-day and work through my career.
What advice would you give to others who may be looking to take on an apprenticeship?
For anyone looking into an apprenticeship, I would suggest looking around several types of businesses, finding ones that pique your interest and do it! I have found the apprenticeship process very enjoyable, much more interesting, and far easier to focus on than full time education. You will gain experience and knowledge from a wide amount of people, and earn at the same time.
Since this article was published, Barney has now become a full time member of the 42T team having gained his level 3 Product Design and Development Technician award. Read more about Barney.
To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week please visit the Apprenticeships website here.
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