Christian Attewel

Christian has always been passionate about a career in engineering, but was torn between going to university and pursuing an apprenticeship. As a practical learner, he feels that his vocational training path ultimately gave him a more versatile skillset and a greater variety of experiences than if he’d pursued a more academic route.

Christian is now a key member of FANUC UK’s team in Coventry in a varied role that has also given him an opportunity travel to work on projects in several countries. We talked to him about why he believes his MTC apprenticeship experience was such a valuable first step in his engineering career.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

It was towards the end of my A-levels levels, and I was at a crossroads – should I go to university or should I do an apprenticeship? A degree didn’t seem be the commodity it once was, and now costed three times what it used to, so I started looking more towards apprenticeships. I was also keen to start working, and once I learned that I could still pursue a degree after completing an apprenticeship, my mind was made up.

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

Renewable technologies was one of my first interests, and in fact was something I had considered studying at university. I was totally inspired by it, but because it was a relatively new industry, opportunities weren’t so abundant as other more established sectors. And of course, a lot of renewable technologies are reliant on a coastline, which we severely lack in the Midlands! So I refined my interest towards research and development for the variety and challenge it presented, and that’s what first attracted me to the MTC.

What did you learn at the MTC?

The MTC taught me that your attitude to work is more important than intellect – it’s not just the most academically intelligent people who get the most out of their careers. Being committed to delivering real impact, believing in what you’re doing, and collaborating to share skills and ideas are much more likely to help you succeed and excel.

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

My apprenticeship opened my eyes to many different job roles and gave me a chance to experience a variety of work that helped me to build a very versatile skillset before finding the right job role for me. It gave me the opportunity to join a company like FANUC, where I have learnt so much about the products we make and the industries we supply. An extra bonus is that the experiences I have gained through the work have also enabled me to travel to several different countries doing a job that I enjoy.

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

One of the main benefits for me was that the MTC apprenticeship programme was a good transition from school into the workplace. I had a large peer group of people my own age who were also starting their career at the MTC, and I made a lot of great friends during my time there. It also opened my eyes to industries I had never been aware of and so wouldn’t have even known to search for! My apprenticeship took away some of that chicken and egg situation of not knowing what you like until you’ve tried it.

What are your main duties in your job?

My role now involves a wide spectrum of work supporting different departments throughout the business. This involves assisting our sales department, through offline simulation to advise floor layouts, and consulting on hardware requirements for the customers, as well as working on existing systems out in the field to support customers with onsite programming and automated cell setup.