Combining practical learning with classroom based learning; apprenticeships are a great option for those looking to kick-start their career. Sam Allington, now a Field Service Engineer for Optimax, chose an apprenticeship because it would give him the experience that employers are looking for as well as the qualifications.
Sam started his apprenticeship in 2018 and has already had such great success in his career, becoming the youngest person in the UK to achieve accreditation from the UK’s National Accreditation Body, UKAS, for his work.
We spoke to Sam about how he found the apprenticeship, his experience at the MTC and how it has helped his career so far.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose to apply for an apprentice for many reasons; I was always interested in practical learning, and the ability to gain hands on experience whilst working towards a known qualification really excited me. Being paid to do so came as a bonus!
From my later years in school, I also realised that employers are heavily interested in experience as well as qualifications, so the idea of achieving UCAS points whilst gaining skills for life really interested me.
Did you have a career in mind when you made your decision? If so, what and why?
When I joined the MTC, I had no idea of the career path I was going to take. The course consisted of multiple subjects which gave me an understanding of the different aspects of engineering. I developed an interest in conducting measurement in my manufacturing units; I was fascinated with the complexity and accuracy of some of the measuring tools I used, leading me to pursue a career in metrology.
What did you learn at the MTC?
At the MTC, I acquired an in depth feel for over 10 new units, such as pneumatics, robotics and electrical engineering. I also naturally developed hand skills and an ability to problem-solve, which I am finding really useful outside of work. Apart from learning how to be a multi-skilled technician, I more importantly learnt how to take responsibility and be organised when dealing with deadlines; I learnt how to be a professional. I also gained an exceptional ability to work in a team, which gave me the confidence I was looking for after school.
Have there been any memorable projects/experiences from the training you received at the MTC?
The most memorable experiences from the MTC came from failure. At the start of the course, none of my group had a natural ability to perfect everything first time. It always brought laughter into the day when we would make mistakes right at the end of a manufacturing process. I will always remember being able to take a positive experience from the trainers and my peers following a mistake, being able to laugh at them but more importantly learn from them.
How has the apprenticeship programme been beneficial to you and your career?
The apprenticeship programme available at the MTC is great. The biggest thing I took from the course was having confidence in my work. It taught me how to overcome problems with ease and mainly benefited my skill base. The MTC apprenticeship course has allowed me to build a CV that is appealing to employers. Taking part in the apprenticeship programme also provided a great opportunity to develop a working network with people all over the business.
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 biggest benefits I found was the support I was given when looking for employment. The MTC found me various job opportunities that were tailored to my skills. For anyone who is interested in applying for the MTC apprenticeship, my best bit of advice is to apply as early as possible and attend the open days so you can get a real feel for what the course is about. I can guarantee you will learn something you didn’t know before.
Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?
I would highly recommend apprenticeships to anyone who enjoys a practical learning experience and developing friendships; especially the course available at the MTC. I think it’s important for young people that don’t know what they want to do in their life to at least attend an open day. I can guarantee that they will find a unit that they are interested in.