Meet the Apprentice: Lewis Duffield

As one of our apprentice ambassadors, Lewis is passionate about promoting careers in STEM and the benefits apprenticeships offer both to other learners and to their employers, and is keen to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

We talked to him just 6 months into his learning journey about why he knew an apprenticeship would suit him, what he’s enjoying most about his experiences so far, and what advice he’d give to other people thinking about following the same pathway.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

I’ve always been interested in apprenticeships. I found myself in a position where an academic route wouldn’t utilise my skills as well as an apprenticeship could, so I did what was best for me and followed that path. Some of my family have taken more practical routes and careers too (my dad is very hands on and works in property development, while my great grandad was a handy craftsman, making grandfather clocks, table, furniture and painting), so I had a good idea that an apprenticeship would be the best path for me. I took a bit of a gamble and it’s been a really good experience so far.

Did you have a particular career in mind when you made your decision? If so, what and why?

I’ve always wanted to go down an engineering path, but obviously that’s a very broad statement! Most people don’t know about all the different things engineering can include. I’m a very hands-on, creative person, designing things by myself, so I knew an engineering path would suit me, and then an apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to explore and find the right opportunity. For me, it’s all about working with your key attributes – if you know what you’re good at, you can work out what to focus on and then find the specific paths that best suits those attributes.

Were you always interested in a career in engineering?

Yes, from an early age. I’ve always been creative, making things with Lego or building things that I’ve imagined. Linking that creativity with engineering has really expanded and developed my design brain, I feel like I’ve landed on my feet.

A lot of it is about mindset too – if you’re as passionate as possible from an early age, you’ll reap the benefits in the future. This is a four-year programme, so by the time I finish I’ll be 20, with a really strong foundation from my apprenticeship and loads of time to continue my development learning new things and working with lots of different inspiring people around me. It’s a great way to start your career and build a strong future for yourself.

Did you have an idea of what an apprenticeship would involve before you came to the AMTC?

I knew that an apprenticeship was probably the right decision for me because a few of my teachers and my family saw the results I was getting, how I achieved most in my lessons, and recognised my creativity and suggested that I pursue an apprenticeship instead of A levels, but I didn’t actually know too much about apprenticeships.  I had experienced a couple of days in an induction week for a college where I was going to start my A levels, but I found myself contemplating whether it would be the best option for me, so I looked at my options and tried some engineering in a local college. I applied to complete an apprenticeship with JJ Churchil Ltd, who are a precision engineering company local to me, explained how passionate I was about engineering and my training, and the rest is history!

How has the apprenticeship programme been beneficial to you and your career?

Over the four years, an apprenticeship teaches you everything you need to know to be brilliant at your job. You have to commit to putting the effort in and completing everything to a high standard to get maximum benefit, but all that hard work will deliver benefits to you later. I’m training full-time at the AMTC now, and the trainers report back on your progress to your employer so they can see how you’re doing, and you get recognition and appreciation even though you’re not in the workplace.

What would you say are the benefits and what advice would you offer to those looking to apply to MTC Training’s apprenticeship programme?

You’re receiving a top quality apprenticeship at the MTC. You get to work in such a unique environment. The classrooms, workshops and all the resources are 100% the highest quality, and it inspires you to work even harder. Everyone is also really supportive and apprentices are really valued here – you can go to any member of staff if you need help, they’re all incredibly friendly and they’ll help however they can. You’re also getting used to working with other people, following instructions and working to detailed briefs, and it’s a good split between the work and training environments.

My advice would be not to make any rash decisions: prepare and plan and weigh up your options to make sure you’re following the right path for you. Look at your key attributes like I said before, and make sure they align with engineering. Then, when you’re in your company, you’ll be developing and improving those attributes so that you end up with a career that you’ll really enjoy for years to come.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I’m very motivated by the excitement of knowing that if I do well here, the benefits are going to be so great when I’ve finished. I want to work my way up the ranks and keep moving up. I enjoy what I do, which makes it easy work hard and to improve, and as I do, I’m broadening my horizons and opening myself up to even more areas and opportunities.

Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?

Yes of course, 100%! Apprenticeships are so beneficial to people who want them. If it’s the right path for you, it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done!