From a BTEC to an advanced apprenticeship in electrical engineering

Former UTC Oxfordshire student, Tom, is now in the second year of his apprenticeship with UK Atomic Energy Authority. We caught up with him to hear about his experience so far.

Following his studies at UTC Oxfordshire, Tom applied for the four-year advanced apprenticeship online. Going through the application process, Tom weighed up a mechanical or electrical apprenticeship. He opted for electrical and secured a place to join that September.

“I knew of UK Atomic Energy Authority through the UTC. We did an employer-led project with them and that was what sparked my initial interest. My brother also went through the apprenticeship scheme and applied for Culham, so I was well aware of who they were and what they did.”

“I applied because they offer such a wide range of research. They focus on fusion but you also have robotics and now they are currently working in pellet injection, which links in with cryogenics; there is so much opportunity here. I go from helping to run a machine, to being sat with a group of people trying to problem solve. For example, figuring out why a sensor is not working correctly.”

“In my first year I was full-time at an onsite training facility, studying for a BTEC Level 3 and an Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Foundation Level 2, which focused on practical skills. Then we have day release where we finish off our qualifications. For the rest of the apprenticeship I will be on a placement, starting with six three-month placements and then a final 18-month placement.”

“It is more than I ever thought it would be. We don’t just get involved in the day to day; we also take part in careers events and other activities as well. It’s great for working on my personal skills and also for networking.”

“My advice to anyone thinking of an apprenticeship is to go for it. The amount of opportunities you gain is amazing. You work on your personal and technical skills whilst getting all the qualifications you need, while also being paid. There are only positives.”

“Studying at UTC Oxfordshire and doing a BTEC gave me the knowledge that I needed and has given me a big head start. If I hadn’t studied at the UTC and completed technical units with our Director of Engineering, Richard, I wouldn’t have secured this.”

When his apprenticeship comes to an end, Tom plans to find a job within one of the departments and also continuing his degree and looking at further education.

We wish Tom all the best for the future and look forward to catching up with him again soon.

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