I have just completed my apprenticeship with Princes Foods, studying Level 3 City and Guilds Food and Drink Engineering Maintenance.
I studied a vocational course at CWA for a year prior to starting my apprenticeship at Princes Foods. I heard about Princes Foods when they attended a careers day at my secondary school. I decided to study an apprenticeship after my first year at college, as I knew I would gain a recognised qualification and get my career started at the same time.
My apprenticeship was based on the repair and maintenance of engineered systems. CWA did a great job in covering the broad range of systems we would find in our work places, from mechanical systems to electro-pneumatic and more.
The time I spent in college varied from year to year on a block release basis. Year 1, I attended 20 weeks, Year 2 was 16 weeks and Year 3 was 12 weeks. This worked well for me, especially in Year 1, where we prepared for our work environment by completing units the use of basic tools and in Health and Safety, which is relevant to all industries. The tutors are great. They all have experience in the industry, so you’re always on the same page when discussing what you’ve been up to at work.
Studying an apprenticeship is particularly rewarding, not just because you are earning whilst you learn, but also because you gain real world experience in a junior position. Not to mention that most employers offer you a full-time role upon successful completion of the apprenticeship.
Being a maintenance engineer, my role is to keep machines running efficiently and keep downtime to a minimum. I have been seconded to the projects team, to assist with the installation and commissioning of a new line at Princes, Long Sutton. This involves creating maintenance plans for the new equipment, training operators to perform autonomous maintenance and dealing with any breakdowns.
Now that I have finished my apprenticeship, I am looking to go into Higher Education with Engineering. I think that this would be a good step to take to progress my career.
If you are thinking of studying an apprenticeship, I would say do it! Most apprenticeships take as long as the equivalent college course. By completing an apprenticeship, you are gaining work experience, earn and get the same support as you would on a full-time course. The best thing about completing an apprenticeship is that I have a job secured and an excellent foundation to build from.