Meet the Trainer – Dave Smedley

One of our Senior Trainers, Dave served as an Avionics Technician in the Royal Air Force for eight years before moving into the training sector. As a former apprentice himself, he talked to us about why training the next generation is so important to him, how MTC Apprenticeships’ focus on quality sets us apart, and his advice for apprentices to get the most out of their programme.

What was your prior industrial experience before you joined MTC Apprenticeships?

I began my career as an apprentice myself, following an apprenticeship in Aircraft Engineering as an Avionics Technician in the Royal Air Force. After eight years in the military, I moved into the training sector, first as a Trainer specialising in Fluid Power, and then as a Senior Trainer focusing more on the management side of things, and looking after the training team, the workshop and the apprentices. After four years with another training provider, I joined MTC Apprenticeships, again progressing from Trainer to Senior Trainer, becoming a fully qualified Work-Based Assessor and now managing the work-based assessor team. One of the things I love about my current role is that I look after the apprentices all the way through their programme, from their very first days in the training centre right through to watching them learning and applying their new skills in their workplace.

What would you say are your career highlights?

Serving my country and having an impact whilst I was in the military – it was great to be able to carry out the job role I was trained to do in situations that really mattered and made a difference due to the nature of the operations we were working on. It’s also a highlight for me that I’m now able to pass on that expertise on to the next generation – it makes both experiences feel even more valuable.

Why did you decide to become a trainer?

I’ve always looked up to the people who trained and shared their skills with me, and had a lot of respect for them and what they did. I wanted to follow in their footsteps and pass on the life experience and knowledge that I’ve gained to the next generation too. I also really like all the different personalities you’re surrounded by as a trainer – it’s great to watch the learners mature and grow into adults, and I’m pleased to be able to support that process.

What do you enjoy most about your training role?

The people. I really like working with the apprentices and helping them to develop the behaviours that will support them to be successful both professionally and personally. I also really enjoy working with the employers, it’s fantastic to see our apprentices maturing, to watch them getting on with things in the real world and adding real value to their employers’ teams and businesses. It’s very rewarding.

How is the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre different from other training centres?

Our focus is on quality, rather than quantity like some other training centres. We’re here to produce exceptional future technicians and engineers that will make a real difference in their workplace – and will deliver genuine value to their employers. We work very closely with all of our employer partners to make sure our programme meets their requirements and objectives, and we plan individualised journeys which of course benefit both the business and the specific learner.

What makes a good apprentice? What qualities do apprentices need to make the most of their opportunities here?

I’d say a good work ethic, a mature attitude towards learning, and a good sense of humour! You’ll get the most out of your apprenticeship if you have the passion and drive to always want to do more, and to strive for excellence at every opportunity. This is a professional and competitive industry, so you need to be reliable and at your best to get the most from your career. If you can do that, you’ll naturally reap the rewards of a career in an exciting industry which offers a huge variety of roles and opportunities.

What advice would you give to prospective apprentices?

Don’t be put off if you haven’t got any practical engineering experience – you don’t need to be technically gifted, or taking stuff apart since you were a kid. If you’re interested, enthusiastic and willing to learn, as well as open to asking questions and accepting help and support, then an apprenticeship will help you to do the rest.