Ben has always enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together again, with a passion for engineering that was formally reinforced during his Design and Technology GCSE at school. Ben’s apprenticeship at the AMTC has given him the chance to explore and experience new areas of engineering. Coupled with his commitment to maintaining the highest standards and taking advantage of every opportunity presented to him, Ben is maximising this journey of discovery to gain, practice and constantly enhance his skills and knowledge .
We talked to him as he was completing his first year’s training about what he’s achieved so far, what he’d like to do next, and why he believes his apprenticeship experience is so valuable.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship because I wanted an opportunity to learn skills practically, as well as gaining knowledge through written study. I knew I wanted to go into engineering, and I knew that practical training would give me the hands-on experience that would strengthen my future career opportunities. An apprenticeship has also given me the chance to work with the professional machines and equipment that employers are using, which is something that might not have been on offer at a sixth form or university.
Did you have a particular career in mind when you made your decision? If so, what and why?
I was thinking about going into R&D (Research and Development) or MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) because I enjoy creating devices as well as stripping down and repairing old ones. I knew an apprenticeship would enable me to experience lots of different areas of engineering throughout my training, so that I could then make an informed decision about following a more specific career pathway that I was passionate about and would enjoy.
What did you learn at the MTC?
My first year was off-the-job training at the MTC. I have learned lots of practical skills but I have also improved my theoretical knowledge, which I’ve been applying to helping me to enhance my practical skills even more. I have learned how to properly carry out hand-fitting techniques, safely and to a high standard. This includes how to read and create engineering drawings to the correct standards and regulations and how to use equipment such as files, clamps and saws.
I’ve been trained on loads of different machinery and taught how to follow drawings to create a component using the lathes, how to create a correctly dimensioned piece using the milling machines and how to use them properly to ensure our piece will be to a good standard. I know how to strip down parts of an assembly, identify a problem and build them back up so that they are functioning correctly, as well as how to read fluid power schematics, assemble the systems and how to maintain them. Crucially, I also understand how to work efficiently using BIT (Business Improvement Techniques) and how to work safely to ensure that my team always follows the HASAWA (Health and Safety at Work Act).
How has the apprenticeship programme been beneficial to you and your career?
My apprenticeship has already given me so many new skills and helped me build on them so that I correctly and successfully apply them to real projects. I’ve been given the opportunity to train with industrial-grade machines that I will be using in industry, and the programme has taught me how to create and use high-grade components safely and efficiently. I’ve gained a wide range of knowledge and key skills that will help me throughout the future of my career.
What would you say are the benefits and what advice would you offer to those looking to apply to the MTC apprenticeship programme?
The main benefits of the MTC apprenticeship programme are the skills and experience you gain – these will be very valuable no matter what area of engineering you go into. You learn on a huge range of equipment, giving you the chance to learn how to use everything safely in a stress-free environment. Anyone who has an interest in engineering and is very hands-on should put their name forward because there are some amazing opportunities here. Plus once you have finished your apprenticeship, you get a full-time job with your employer!
Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?
I would highly recommend apprenticeships to others! They are a such great way to learn in a real work environment, which means you get all the skills and knowledge you need to be ready to deliver real impact in industry and to be successful. At the end of the apprenticeship, you get a job from your employer who has helped train you, and of course you gain industry-recognised qualifications that will stay with you throughout the rest of your career.