My role as an apprentice consists of aiding and assisting others, maintaining the upkeep of the workshop, being competent in making decisions to help improve business profit and performance and absorbing as much information as I can in order to make me as valuable to the team as possible.
I chose to train as a technician rather than stay in education or pursue other endeavours because of a passion for vehicle body design and build. This was quickly surpassed as my understanding grew, to how the build and design are achieved at an engineering level. My biggest question has changed to “How” technology is applied to enable an ergonomic design.
Rather than simply approach Skillnet and rely on them to find me a position, I began researching brands and locations within my area that could support the level of training I wanted.
I started my research by simply speaking to family and friends seeking a contact with the depth of knowledge to guide me. A friend from my church, Henry, lead me to approach the service manager at Stamford Hill who gave me an outline of the level of commitment expected of an apprentice technician and explained the quality of the Ford apprenticeship program. Managing to secure a position I have not looked back.
The team I work with has definitely had a major impact on my knowledge and capabilities. I no longer see them as colleagues. I now see them as family.
From the moment I started, I have enjoyed the work and the challenge; the manager took a keen interest in my knowledge and understanding. This was best demonstrated by his ethos: I was not allowed to touch any component on a vehicle unless I could demonstrate an understanding of what it is, what it does and why it is needed. I saw this challenge as an opportunity to prove myself. I am by nature very curious and with hindsight I’d say I wanted to run before I could walk. The process of having to understand every component before I was allowed to touch it forced me to learn thoroughly if I was to get involved. My knowledge was thoroughly tested during the morning meetings and we’d often follow up in one to ones, I’d often get a free lesson!
I earned enough trust to be given responsibility for our tyre stock. I would audit the stock, order to replace tyres that had been used and was actively involved in reviewing the tyre stock profile to ensure we always had what we needed. It’s difficult to sell it if you haven’t got it.
I have been featured in Autoteam which is a Ford provided magazine for employees, which gives the latest information on products, and the Company.
I would say that I have benefited tremendously from my apprenticeship because of the way my manager encouraged me to develop my understanding of things. At first I thought of this as perhaps a reason to stop me or slow my progression down. I later understood and strived to maintain the same inquisitive mind to further develop my technical skills in and out of work. This method of progression quickly lead to me working under my own initiative, under the watchful eye of my mentor. Chad, my mentor, always taught me to be vigilant and focus on the detail of every job, no matter how simple.
I have been able to take this quality away from work and apply it in other situations, such as when talking and comforting someone during a difficult time. The small detail that I may give them shows my genuine interest in them. My outlook on life has changed somewhat, as the skills that I have learned and continue to learn are transferable to life in general as well as the workshop setting. I continue to be curious and ask many questions, focusing on growing my interpersonal skills. I would definitely encourage those who are looking to pursue higher education to go through an apprenticeship route to develop skills that are not attainable in the classroom.
I strive to set the standard every single day. I will never compromise when it comes to the effort I apply to my job or the way I speak to and treat people. I have an ambition to act as an ambassador for the apprenticeship program. I would love to go out to businesses of all sorts to encourage them to take the progression of their apprentices as seriously as our team. While academia can give you a qualification and some knowledge, the difference between that and learning on the job in a process driven environment is immense. For the apprentices themselves I would encourage them to focus on the long term and try not to be too short sighted, no easy task at this age.