(Engineering Technician, Electrical Maintenance, Level 3)
Tell us a bit about yourself. Explain what you were doing before your apprenticeship.
When I finished school in Exeter I was very indecisive as to where I wanted to see myself in the years to come. I was keen to go straight into a full-time job, however, I knew that this would have an impact on my future.
I started studying Electrical Installation Level 2, where I had to attend college and worked part-time as a lifeguard.
At the end of the academic year, I knew I wasn’t happy and I needed to make a change. I needed something I could enjoy and something that I could focus on.
What made you decide to do an apprenticeship at the University of Exeter?
I started looking for jobs and apprenticeships online and I wanted somewhere that I could see a successful future.
When I found the apprenticeship at the University of Exeter listed online I knew that this was a perfect chance for me to show my high aspirations.
I chose the University of Exeter because it is full of great opportunities to learn new things. I could continue with a career after the apprenticeship and potentially have an opportunity to continue my studies on a degree course.
Can you give us an idea of a typical day?
Every day is different, so I have to plan what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.
A typical day might include building electronic circuits, setting up for laboratory sessions, computer programming, going through the laboratory notes, then assisting students when the sessions are in progress.
We also get involved in projects from other departments at the University which means there will always be a variety of tasks to complete.
How do you balance studying whilst working at the same time?
Some of the assignments I get can be done during my college day, however, the majority of the time I have to complete these on a working day in my own time using the university facilities and equipment.
Sometimes when we’re having a quiet day in the electronics laboratory I can spend a couple of hours on my assignments.
What is the best thing about being an apprentice?
The best thing about being an apprentice is being able to learn from the more experienced technical staff.
I felt that sat in a classroom all week never benefitted me that much, so being in a working environment always doing things, solving problems and keeping your mind going suits me best.
The top 3 things I have learnt would be improving my communication skills, practical/technical skills and how to work effectively working as a team.
How have you put into practice what you have learnt on your apprenticeship?
Everything I learn at Exeter College and work is very valuable and is used practically daily.
Whether it’s using measuring instruments or understanding sophisticated components in depth. I have used these skills by understanding the principles then applying them to my work activities.
Whilst attending Exeter College I have constructed many electronic circuits including audio amplifiers and 555 timer circuits, and then when I come to work I can build the circuits independently.
How are you supported by your team?
My colleagues here at the university have been very helpful. They point me in the right directions by supplying me with the information I need in practical sessions where my knowledge isn’t insufficient. They have also helped me by giving me time to go over things and prepare me for any assessments I have missed in college.
I have also been given good opportunities to work in other departments which builds my professional network, develops new working relationships with our team, and will potentially help me in the future.
Why should someone consider doing an apprenticeship at the University of Exeter?
I think doing an apprenticeship at the University of Exeter is very beneficial.
Working here has helped me sustain my knowledge by using them in daily practices. Also by working in an environment where there are professionals I have been able to gain the skills that I need to succeed in being an Electronics Technician.
After completing an apprenticeship with the University of Exeter they can offer you further options for progression, including opportunities for getting a degree whilst being paid at the same time.