My name is Adam Bytheway and I’m a mechanical technician at Chemoxy International. I started my full-time role at the company after completing an advanced apprenticeship and gaining an NVQ Level 3 in Mechanical Engineering in 2016.
Even though I always enjoyed academic studies at school, I’ve always felt I am more of a practical learner and have progressed more when I’m able to get hands on experience. This was a huge part of the reason I chose to do an apprenticeship, as I was aware that I would be learning new skills and then putting them straight into practice. My friends and family were very supportive of my decision, encouraging me to do something that they knew I had a real interest in.
Before I was able to begin my advanced apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering, I joined a traineeship in April 2014 through the Sembcorp Skills Development Programme (SSDP). The aim of this was to get a good grounding in the field, where I’d be able to learn the basic skills and knowledge I needed to progress further.
This programme took place across a few institutions: Middlesbrough College (six months), the TTE Technical Training Group (three months), and NETA Training Group (three months). I studied towards an NVQ Level 2 in Performance Engineering Operations, and learned a lot of essential skills on this course. These included operating machinery like lathe and milling machines, and more advanced skills like overhauling pumps and valves.
After completing my pre-apprenticeship, I was offered a sponsored apprenticeship through the SSDP by Chemoxy International. Here, I gained the valuable on-site experience I needed and worked towards my NVQ Level 3, which required me to attend Redcar and Cleveland College on certain days.
Chemoxy were very supportive throughout this process, and they allowed me to really immerse myself into the role of a mechanical technician. I was involved in a variety of jobs, such as safety critical inspection, planned and preventative maintenance, emergency breakdowns, and vessel entries, just to name a few. These were all tasks that I knew I’d need to undertake in the future, and being able to experience them early in my career expanded my understanding of them.
I finished my advanced apprenticeship in 2016, and Chemoxy offered me a full-time role with the company as a mechanical technician. Having a job waiting for me at the end of the programme really helped to motivate me throughout my training, and I was very happy to be able to continue my career with the people who had helped me from the start. Chemoxy also agreed to fund a new HNC qualification in mechanical engineering, which I’m currently studying for to further my knowledge.
I’ve really enjoyed my training over the last few years, and it’s really helped to boost my early career prospects. I would recommend doing an apprenticeship to anyone who, like myself, prefers to learn through hands-on experience. If you’re looking to become an apprentice, you should really persevere and keep on writing to companies that you’re interested in working for to see if they are willing to take you on. It’s also the best way to make sure you end up working in a trade that you really love and don’t end up compromising your goals.