After both securing apprenticeships at leading industrial engineering group Fives this summer, former UTC Oxfordshire students, Jack Ellis and Thomas Davies, tell us how they are getting on.
Jack said: “I don’t feel I have missed out by not going to university. I have gained meaningful paid work, with a job at the end of the apprenticeship. Two things I have enjoyed most since joining are using CAD to create designs for a wood and metal workshop desk, which other apprentices are now going to make, and also going to do an onsite visit in the Peak District to inspect roof blocks which Fives were buying for resale.”
Thomas said: “It’s been great getting paid to learn, and to weld. I am gaining different skills that are appealing to possible future employers and we are the first group of apprentices at this Fives branch for approximately 10 years. We are a great deal younger than the rest of the workers, so are getting great exposure to managers. Fives also pay towards Open University degrees, so if I want to study further in the future, I can…”
Both Thomas and Jack highlighted how studying at UTC Oxfordshire helped prepare them for this apprenticeship. Jack said: “we got respect from teachers compared to previous schools, and that helps students to learn about working with others. We learnt useful workplace skills, had more time with teachers, and were taught CAD, which was a good basis for learning to use SolidWorks at Fives.”
Thomas added: “UTC Oxfordshire’s work-orientated environment helped them to prepare in that the longer hours didn’t feel like such a shock, and already being used to wearing business dress.”
When asked what advice they would give to students considering joining the UTC, Jack and Thomas emphasised taking advantage of all of the opportunities that come your way: “make the most of all the different things that go on and don’t be afraid to ask employers questions.”
If students are applying for an apprenticeship, Jack recommended: “being enthusiastic about looking for places and seeing what they really offer”. Thomas, on the other hand, also underlined the importance of “being honest with yourself and potential employers about what you are looking for.”
Both apprentices see their futures in engineering – “Since I started working here I have seen that there are a lot of future opportunities, both inside and outside the company,” Jack said. Thomas added that he “will probably want to stay within Fives, as they have so many different areas of work and locations.”
We wish both Jack and Thomas the best of luck in their future careers.