Meet Chris, Chris joined RLC as an apprentice in 2017 from the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering course.
School: St Ninian’s High School
Before joining the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering (FAIE) I was studying Public Service at University College Isle of Man (UCM). After the first year I decided it wasn’t for me, however, had already seen in the college building the advertisement for the engineering course and struck my interest to change vocation.
How did you find out about the course?
At school I had expressed an interest in the engineering and manufacturing course when I was going through careers guidance – so when I realised that the Public Service wasn’t for me, it seemed like a good option to pursue. I also had a friend already studying the City and Guild Level 3 certificate and they really encouraged me to go for it!
During apprenticeship training:
The course has been really interesting – it’s different every day, and we’re always continually learning. The tutors are great to support and believe in you. They helped to provide the basic skills to get us into the workplace and it was great that the businesses put their trust in you, giving you the opportunity to put the training into practice. This can be nerve-wracking – but a great leap to experience from college into the workplace!
I had previously undertaken my Year 10 work experience at Swagelok, so I was already quite well prepared to understand what the field was about, and what working in engineering entailed. I really enjoyed the work experience placement as they were great to show me around all the different manufacturing processes and to let me have a go hands-on at different machinery, and not just have to watch from the sidelines. It was a great insight into what working in the field would be like, and prepared me for when I joined the course at college!
How are you finding the apprenticeship course?
I really enjoy getting on the machines. To start with we were trained on the manual machines, but then we progressed to programming and the more technical aspect of machinery. At first it all seems very complex, but once you learn about the processes and have an understanding of everything we’ve been taught it’s amazing.
As you go through the course at the college you can start building friendships as it’s a supportive and relaxed environment, and really get on with your course mates and tutors – this makes for great learning experiences and teamwork.
I undertook my summer placement after first year with Triumph and RLC. These placements were great as they gave a better understanding of what these companies do for their engineering and manufacturing processes, and put into context what each of their businesses do, showing the variety of what is happening on the Island in the engineering field.
Highlights of the course?
It becomes more and more fascinating as you go along, and always learning something new! For example, during work experience we’re given the opportunity to build on what we’ve been taught in college so far, seeing how it translates in the actual workplace in more depth, testing our skills so far.
The transition to second year and learning programming was a big step up from manual processes of the first year. But I kept practicing to make sure I could understand and do it well, and got there, so now I can enjoy doing both programming and manual production to keep a well-rounded skill set in the workplace to apply myself.
I would definitely recommend the course! If you’re a creative person and a practical learner, and enjoy building things, being active and hands-on – it’s a very good career to get in to! There is so much variety offering through the engineering and manufacturing field. When you come to work you find that it’s not the same thing every day; different challenges offered to keep you on your toes and keep the role very interesting.