Matthew Dodd

Tell us about your previous education, why you chose to study engineering and why you chose to do so here at MTC?

I am originally from Wales and went to college in Hereford where I studied Level 3 Engineering for two years. I have always wanted a career in engineering and with my Dad being an engineer, it runs in the family I guess. The reason for choosing the MTC is down to my Dad visiting MTC for a seminar where he found out about the Apprentice offering. To me, apprenticeships seemed like a better, more appealing route to go down for the best combination of practical and theory-based learning. The facilities here are amazing and the opportunity it provided versus what I could get elsewhere all contributed to me choosing to re-locate and start as a year two apprentice following the completion of my Level 3 course.

Why was an apprenticeship the right route for you?

For me, I wanted the hands-on experience that an apprenticeship provides. It teaches you the practical skills that you need as well as the theory side and you are supported right through to qualification. The other bonus and attraction for me was getting paid and that I wouldn’t end up with a big student loan to pay back like many of my friends at university.

What was the trend amongst your friends and peers for post-16 education choices – do you think apprenticeships are becoming more popular?

In my friendship group there was a mixture of choices. Some stayed on at college like me and some took the more traditional route and chose university. However, apprenticeships were being talked about more and certainly seem more popular than they used to be. It seems younger people are becoming more aware of the benefits versus other higher or further education options.

What do you enjoy most about your studies?

The facilities here at MTC are unlike anything else that I have seen for apprentices, it is state-of-the-art. I also feel like I am being treated as an adult; one of the workforce instead of a student. We are provided with independence and autonomy in a mature environment which is great preparation for when we go out into the world of work. The other part of my time here that I really enjoyed was my placement week at FANUC, which was focused on automation. It was a real eye opener and I learned how to apply a range of skills in industry.

What have you found to be the biggest challenge in your course so far?

For me, the biggest challenge was integrating with the rest of my cohort as I was joining in second year and by that point they all knew each other. But it didn’t take long at all and I am really enjoying myself.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone who’s considering an apprenticeship?

Don’t just look in your surrounding area, there are lots of opportunities out there so it’s important you don’t limit yourself. That would be my advice – expand your search and be open to anything.

What are your plans after your apprenticeship?

After I finish here, I want to go into industry and straight into work. Working and being a part of a company is where I feel I can progress my skills further and broaden my knowledge.