Tell us about your previous education and why you chose to do engineering?
I studied resistant materials at GCSE and have always taken an interest in how things work, from cars to aeroplanes, so engineering has always been at the forefront of my thoughts when making decisions about my studies. At school, we had access to a Careers Advisor who gave us advice on how to get into careers based on what we had said that we wanted to do. She happened to have a son who was undertaking an apprenticeship at MTC and she mentioned it to me – I had never heard of MTC at that point. I also spent a lot of time looking into studying for A Levels and then going onto university, however after speaking to people in industry, they all encouraged me to go down the apprenticeship route. I looked at several other institutions to study at, but as soon as I came here for an Open Evening all I thought was wow! It was a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a leading organisation and I saw it as the perfect launchpad for a career in engineering.
Why was an apprenticeship the right route for you?
The lure of studying at MTC, along with the advice that I received from people in industry convinced me that the apprenticeship approach was the right route for me. By studying here at the MTC, I am best placed for moving into a career. Everyone in the industry knows about MTC which enables them to get us the best work experience with companies in order for us to understand the bigger picture.
What’s the trend amongst your friends and peers for post-16 education choices – do you think apprenticeships are becoming more popular?
Amongst my friends there was a real mixture, some stayed on at college to do A Levels and others took alternative routes including other apprenticeships. I would say that it is certainly becoming a much more popular route, especially as large organisations are promoting them. If places like MTC did not back these programmes then the strong stigma around doing your A Levels and then going onto university would have remained. I can honestly say that I cam very happy with the choice that I made and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in engineering.
What do you enjoy most about your studies?
I really enjoy what is available to us here and the technology that we have available to us. It is nothing like studying at college, we are effectively learning on the job and we are using equipment that is actually being used in industry. One of my other highlights was my placement week at Exactaform. Throughout the week I got to experience the whole workshop and different departments in operation including the finance and drawing office, where I gained a better understanding of the background to some of the business and how jobs are quoted for.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge in your course so far?
The biggest challenge has been the level of independence given to us and expected from us. The environment created is for people that want to learn and you are very much responsible for yourself. That might be being on time to your next lesson or the submission of a piece of work to meet a deadline. This level of independence and responsibility was something that I was not used to having come from a school environment where a teacher taught you everything that you needed to know, however I can see why this is encouraged and it sets you up well for when we move into work.
What are your plans after your apprenticeship?
There is almost too much choice to know what my plans are because I am enjoying every aspect, although I am keen to pursue software engineering opportunities as my interest in CAD, programming and design is growing.