MTC Training Alumni Case Study: Kieran Bullivant

Kieran has loved the creativity of engineering since he was very young but had been put off vocational training after a negative experience in a different apprenticeship and school programmes. He credits his success as an MTC apprentice to the support of his employer and dedication to learn, which means not only has he successfully completed his apprenticeship, but is also excelling in his permanent role at the MTC and encouraging the wider engineering community to pursue a fruitful career in engineering.

We talked to Kieran about why his experience as an MTC apprentice has been so positive, and what he plans to do next.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

When I was leaving school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t ever aspire to go to university, but I went to sixth form and got good grades, and so everyone around me assumed that university was the natural next step, but I didn’t enjoy the school environment and wanted to find my own path. An apprenticeship enabled me to continue learning and gave me the opportunity to gain experience and start a career.

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

Yes, although the MTC exceeded my expectations. I had been an apprentice before I came to the MTC, but there had been nowhere near the level of opportunities that the MTC offers its apprentices. This gave me the confidence to give an apprenticeship another shot, and I am so glad I did.

What did you learn at the MTC?

So much. Honestly, I have learnt things I never even imagined when I first came to the MTC Training’s apprenticeship open evening. Through my experience, I discovered that engineering is so much more than just one career path, and that there are innovative technologies that I didn’t know existed. If you had told me I would be working with metal powders, laser systems and braiding machines when I started my apprenticeship, I would have laughed! But now I can confidently support projects and work in these areas.

How did you manage to balance studying alongside your professional role?

 It was a lot of self-discipline, especially when working at the same time. Obviously, the support from my employer understanding my apprenticeship helped a lot. But when I had the time and availability to, I was pushing to complete my portfolio. When COVID struck and threw off all of our expected plans, instead of being stumped by it, I took a step back and tried to see what I could do about it and was able to continue progressing towards completion even while we struggled on the day to day during the pandemic. Having support from colleagues all around the business really helped when it came to preparing and letting me accept opportunities when they arose.

What journey has your career looked like since completing your apprenticeship?

 Since completing my apprenticeship, I continued with accreditations to become registered at the IET, earning myself EngTech (Engineering Technician) and TMIET (Technician Membership) post nominals. I’ve kept my learning up-to-date and continued to learn new skills. I’ve completed Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding courses, visited Germany to do Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT), and been involved in a plethora of activities and projects that I never saw coming!

I’ve even had the opportunity to show the next generation what other areas of engineering there are out there through STEM events. I’ve been involved in showcasing our great industry and the work of the MTC in the Technicians Gallery, in the London Science Museum, and I’ve worked with UK Research and Innovation, the non-departmental public body of the Government! Not only that, but I’ve progressed into an Advanced Technician role. I’m really making a name and career for myself. So, you could say I’m keeping myself busy!

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

It has revolutionised my career path. Now I have places I want to go, and career goals I want to work towards. I have my eyes on becoming a chartered engineer – I would like to grow and climb the ladder at the MTC, as well as creating a network of contacts within and beyond our company. My apprenticeship programme at the MTC has given me skills that will benefit me for years to come and in ways that my previous apprenticeship experiences did not.

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

My advice to everyone I meet at our open evenings or tours around the workshop is always the same: go for it. I know how confusing it is not knowing what you want to do with your life or career, or knowing you want to get into engineering but being put off by fear or anxiety getting in the way, but you must push through it. And if you put that effort in, the support is there, and you will soar.

What are your main duties in your job?

One of the things that I enjoy most is how varied my duties are. There are the standard duties of weekly health and safety checks, helping with project works, manufacturing parts, and so on, but I also get involved with the strange and the wonderful, from braiding to vibrating and packing metal powder. Being in a supportive position that helps to make things happen is where I really excel and what I really enjoy.

Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?

Absolutely, and I do all the time! Apprenticeships give you that hands-on experience that some university graduates don’t have, with all the freedom of not being in thousands of pounds of debt. As well as the bonus of being able to learn from the ground up and get that insider knowledge from those who know it best. Your experience makes you such a versatile asset.