Mechanical Engineering Apprentice
Location: RAF Valley, Wales
Sector/Business unit: Land
My apprenticeship, why I chose it, and why I chose Babcock:
I chose Babcock because it offered me a career working on aircraft. Not only that, it was right on my doorstep.
Babcock takes a keen interest in supporting and developing apprentices. We are always encouraged to improve our knowledge through in-house training and opportunities from external providers. As an employer, Babcock also understands that our NVQ is important, and we are always given the time and tools needed to complete our coursework.
One of the things I like the most about this apprenticeship is that it doesn’t feel like learning to me, because it’s something I enjoy and it’s mostly hands-on. The practical element is brilliant if you struggle with the more traditional style of learning.
I have also built a strong bond with my peers as we are able to ask each other for help and advice. We have the mindset that together we can succeed and thrive.
Through the apprenticeship, I have gained an understanding of all the departments and the work they do. This has helped me see what work I enjoy the most, which will help me when applying for my permanent post. I think that an apprenticeship is a brilliant way into a career that will allow you to grow as an individual.
My typical day:
My day starts with a pre-task brief with my team. Once we have been briefed, I will shadow one of the engineers.
The engineers are extremely supportive and actively encourage me to get stuck into the task as they believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. They will talk me through the each task explaining what needs to be done. Once we are happy, we’ll begin. Under supervision, I methodically work through the requirements.
At the end of each day we will spend time having a debrief on completed tasks, if I have any questions, we will use that time to answer them. If I need to complete NVQ work, the engineers will always help me to the best of their ability.
My favourite part of the job:
My favourite part of the job is getting to work hands-on with the team. This is because I find that I learn quicker doing hands-on work.
Each day is different which keeps things interesting and I find myself learning more every day. It is extremely gratifying seeing the end product leave our bay, knowing that I had a part to play in getting it to that point on time and safely.
The most challenging thing I’ve ever done to date:
The most challenging thing I have done would have to be working on a component that I couldn’t see, in a small area no wider than my shoulders.
I had to use all my knowledge and skill to remove a series of pipes to then be able to remove this component. All of this was done on touch alone. For context, this area is so small that you can’t even turn around or bring your arms to your sides without getting out of this area. After I removed this component, I then had to fit the replacement the same way.
Although it was an extremely challenging task, I had a great sense of achievement when it was completed.