What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
I started work at Beaver Visitec International Limited (BVI) in September 2016, employed as their young management operations apprentice. As part of my apprenticeship with BVI I have been training towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 3 in Operations and Quality Improvement. This has encompassed training including Continuous Improvement (CI), as well as Lean manufacturing techniques and methodology. To embed the theory, which is delivered by CQM T&C Ltd, I have completed three CI projects that have delivered cost savings, improved health and safety, and increased output.

I have also worked closely with the Engineering Department, being involved in Continuous Improvement Projects (VIP) of various sizes; taking the lead in several which are critical to the ongoing businesses success. As part of the projects I have carried out supplier and customer field visits.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship due to several factors. I firstly felt that an apprenticeship would provide a superior learning environment based on my learning style; I learn best when hands on with tasks and putting the theory into practice. However, I also considered other factors, such as large university tuition fees, the ability to earn and learn, alongside deciding upon the best career path for myself.

What have you learned since taking on an apprentice role?
Since taking on my apprenticeship role with BVI I have gained access to a large amount of essential knowledge, surrounding how businesses function, as well as developing my personal skills. My apprenticeship with BVI has enabled the development of my social, communication, and team working abilities all of which are key to success in business.

My training and experience to date has given me the confidence to operate at all levels within the business including the supply chain, building long lasting relationships. I’ve realised that building strong working relationships is of paramount importance in any industry, regardless of your position.

Would you encourage other people to consider an apprenticeship?
I would encourage any young person, male or female, to consider an apprenticeship, as I believe anyone with a good attitude to learning can be successful. I also believe it can offer on the job experience, which other avenues of education cannot. Apprenticeships are offered in a wide range of industries, from finance to catering, making apprenticeships accessible to everyone, regardless of their aspirations.

What do you plan to do following your apprenticeship?
Following the end of my apprenticeship on 18 March 2018, I will be continuing with BVI in a new role: junior process engineer, taking on more responsibility within the business, thus gaining further independence. I will also be continuing to train with CQM T&C working toward my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt qualification. Six sigma is a set of techniques and tools used for process improvement and can be applied to most, if not all industries.

I will also be championing apprenticeships and career opportunities in the manufacturing industry. I will be attending schools and colleges in my local area delivering short presentations, hoping to inform other like-minded young people of the benefits of apprenticeships and to raise more awareness of the alternate routes to university.