Engineers at company based in Grantham discuss the benefits of apprenticeships
National Apprenticeship Week offers an opportunity to shine a light on how apprentices of all ages and backgrounds are helping to transform businesses across the UK.
In recent times, employers of all sizes have gone above and beyond to ensure apprentices can continue their studies, so we caught up with three former local apprentices who work at the Grantham branch of Moy Park food company.
The interviewees, Jim Touze (JT), Daniel Blaylock (DB) and Evan Hollingworth (EH), discussed their roles and alternative routes into the industry.
Tell me about your role at Moy Park?
JT: We each work across engineering, and my role within the company is a site services engineer. This includes breakdown/reactive maintenance, fault finding and pre planned maintenance, and overseeing weekend works carried out by contractors.
I also provide cover to the site services manager during holidays and sickness. This means I can gain experience in different aspects of the department, developing management, and delegation skills.
DB: As a multi-skilled engineer, each role carries its own set of responsibilities, tasks and way of thinking, meaning no two shifts are ever the same. Covering production breakdowns requires fault finding, repairing and communication to ensure both the engineering management and production are kept up to date with the situation.
Breakdowns can be high pressure situations which test my knowledge of the machines both electrically and mechanically and can require me to create innovative solutions to rectify the fault.
EH: I am currently an engineering shift team leader. My day-to-day responsibilities include leading a team of
engineers who provide dedicated production support safely and effectively. Working in the food industry can be very fast paced and on a large site can result in a varied and challenging workload.
Therefore, it is important that I effectively balance and prioritise the changing demand - maintaining good levels of communication and focus around working safely.
Why would you recommend an apprenticeship?
DB: A huge benefit is the financial advantage it provides. Not only have I been given the opportunity to achieve multiple qualifications at no cost to myself, but I have also been paid while completing them. The other advantage is the skills that you acquire through an apprenticeship are above and beyond what can be taught in a classroom.
EH: Apprenticeships offer many benefits; the key one for me being that they provide you with the chance to gain knowledge and qualifications in a classroom environment, while at the same time gaining workplace ‘on the job’ experience.
I have been fortunate to work alongside and learn from a very diverse team of people with a broad spectrum of skills. Being able to complete my apprenticeship and further my education within the company while in full time employment has been a huge benefit to me both in my personal life and for my career prospects going forward.
JT: I would recommend an apprenticeship to anybody who enjoys the practical side of education. Personally, I feel that I learn more by being hands on so the opportunity to learn in a classroom and immediately be able to put into practice the next day at work is the perfect way for me to earn my qualifications, and quickly develop skills that I can use throughout my career.
What advice would you give to others thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
EH: Looking back over my own apprenticeship, I would advise people to view it as an opportunity to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible - push yourself to maximise every opportunity offered to you. If you are keen and motivated to learn, people around you are more than willing to help you do that.
Whether that be in the classroom or in your workplace, absorb as much knowledge as you possibly can from the people you work with and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Speaking largely from an engineering point of view, we were all apprentices once.
JT: Make sure and research the business you want to work with. We all benefited from a lot of mentor support at Moy Park. It is important to have a good company who is willing to invest their time in you and in return, being able to give that investment back by providing them with skills you have developed and adding value to the workforce.
DB: Take as many opportunities as you can, whether it’s additional courses or additional responsibilities, and listen and learn from everyone you can. Each person you come across has their own personal set of skills and knowledge which may mean they approach tasks differently than others.
By watching and listening to multiple people it allows you to see and learn the advantages or disadvantages to each method, which will influence how you yourself approach similar tasks in the future.
The final advice would be to ask questions, if you are not sure or want to know more, ask! An apprenticeship is
for you, so make the most of it.