Chris’ Story

Istarted my electrical engineering apprenticeship in 2014 and it is meant to last 4 years, but hopefully I will complete it in 3 years due to fast track.

I went to College and got three A-Levels, I didn’t want to spend years at Uni just to end up with a similar qualification to what I could get by doing an apprenticeship. I’ve always had an interest in controls design and implementation and due to the cost and the availability of interesting courses, I decided to start my apprenticeship with Derwent Training.

I’d definitely recommend this kind of apprenticeship to other people because I think it’s a great way to support yourself if you don’t want to go to University. My employer, Firmac Ltd, not only supports my training but gives me further chances for learning. I also get to work as I learn which definitely removes the uncertainty that I was worried I would get going to university and by far the best part is that I get a job at the end of it!

Before starting my apprenticeship with Firmac I worked at a kid’s computer group, so it was a massive jump to the engineering sector! However, I’ve always wanted to work in engineering and I feel I’ve made the right choice. Every day my duties change. I do the controls designs for the machines. This means finding out the specs of the machine and adapting the design of other machines to fit it. I also spend time working on the machine programs and HMI design programming. Recently, I had a project to create a job download system for a machine via USB/Ethernet which is now on a machine in the field! Which is great to know what I’m doing is used by other people. I sometimes help to wire the machines we build, doing everything from panel work to general machine wiring. When a machine on site breaks down it is sometimes my responsibility to try and find the fault, then fix it, if possible so we don’t need to buy a new machine. The machines in the factory that I try to fix if they breakdown include CNC milling machines and lathes.

The training I get is comprehensive for what I’m doing and the new courses the college is now offering are very interesting. I’m hoping after I finish my apprenticeship, I get the chance to do a HNC or a HND, as that will really benefit my career.

If you’re considering taking an apprenticeship in controls or in the electrical sector, or even in the mechanical industry. Getting a good background in computer programme is a must. I found that it has really set me apart from the rest.

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