Meet Cameron. Cameron joined Swagelok as an apprentice in 2017 from the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering course.
School: St Ninian't High School
I'm currently undertaking my first year of apprenticeship with Swagelok. After completing my GCSEs I went on to the college to study the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering Level 3 National Certificate.
Enjoyed a variety of subjects in school, with PE, History, and the Sciences being particular favourites.
My interest in engineering and manufacturing originated through my family. I have a couple of relatives who work in engineering so I asked them what it was like to work in the field and in companies around the Island.
During Year 10, when you’re required to make choices about subjects for GCSEs, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so decided to follow broader topics to keep opportunities open. I realised that after my GCSEs I didn’t want to continue on to A Levels as I wasn’t interested in University. Instead, I wanted to start working and earning, with the benefit of training alongside.
I’ve been very fortunate to secure my apprenticeship with Swagelok after completing the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering course (FAIE). I love working here and aspire to make it on to the Long Service wall!
During the course
I found the college environment much more suitable to me than in school, it’s a more relaxed environment and our college tutors were very supportive as they’re with you and the course full time, compared to having multiple teachers at school. They’re very passionate and always happy to provide extra guidance and tutoring to help you through the course if needed.
During the full-time studying at the college, Fridays were spent being taught in the work environment, meaning that each week we rotated between companies on the Island to get insight into what they do.
In the final year I undertook my summer work experience placements with; EAM, RLC, Swagelok and Triumph. Each placement taught me what it’s like to work in the different environments of engineering and manufacturing. For example, and EAM I worked in repair and maintenance, learning to care for machinery and provide support. Swagelok was my favourite placement as I loved the making of parts that the business undertakes!
The work load can be challenging at times, learning and working full-time. Swagelok has been very supportive in helping to guide me on course aspects which have been more difficult.
At times you really do need to just put your head down and work to get through the course requirements, but it’s worth it, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself and what you’re learning about!
My main piece of advice would be to think about the job you would like at the end of the college course, and think ahead to prepare for where you would like your potential employment. From the start, as you meet the employers on the Island they will be getting to know you and deciding if they think you’ll be a good match for their business. Be sure to make a good first impression and try to build these relationships as they’ll open doors for potential job opportunities!