William is in Year 12 studying a 90 credit Diploma in Engineering and is moving on to become an Engineering Apprentice with Airbus.
What was the process you had to go through to get considered for the apprenticeship?
“I originally went to Airbus on work experience and made some contacts with the company. Knowing I had to wait a year before the apprenticeship was advertised, I wanted to do something that would improve my chances of getting the apprenticeship. I had three interviews once I applied; one testing my knowledge on topics such as maths, the second was a more informal discussion where I could ask any questions I had and the third was a taster day, which was a lot more hands-on. There were about 150+ applicants so it was fairly competitive.”
When does the apprenticeship start and how long does it last?
“The apprenticeship starts in September but I’m actually going to Abingdon and Witney College in August for a taster month. It lasts five years in total as I get to go through university as well, meaning I will become a licenced engineer on completion.”
Do you know what kinds of things you’ll be learning?
“It’s full time at college for six to eight months and then progresses to four days of work alongside one day of college a week. I think a lot of it will be supervised tasks at first to make sure I understand all of the machinery, with the idea of progressing to more independent tasks.”
What made you decide this was what you wanted to pursue?
“Going through school, all my friends were talking about going to university and I thought that wasn’t really for me as I’m not someone who does well in exams. I thought I would go for a route that would get me to where I want to go and get me the same qualifications, but in a way that’s more suited to my way of learning. Originally, my friend suggested an apprenticeship to me and I had no idea what there were! After finding out a bit more about them, I signed up for the Engineering Trust. I learnt that I would get paid for learning and it’s more hands-on which is much better for me as I don’t enjoy learning purely theoretically. I think that’s why I enjoy engineering as a subject; as a kid, I was always playing with Lego and Meccano and I think my passion has built on from there.”
What are your plans for after you have finished your apprenticeship?
“Airbus have told me that they plan to take me on after the apprenticeship if I am successful, as they will have put a lot of time and money into my learning. With my licence, I will be able to work on military and civilian spec helicopters and I won’t need someone to sign my work off. This means I will have more responsibility and be able to progress through the ranks.”
When did you join UTC Oxfordshire and what made you decide to join?
“I joined in 2016. At my previous school, the natural progression was to attend the sixth form and study A-levels. However, I knew that I wanted to apply for the apprenticeship this year and thought that a BTEC was far more suited to me as I got to study specifically an engineering course. I did a Level 2 Engineering BTEC in Year 11 so this was a good step forward I think, to do the Level 3. Doing the BTEC also means that after this first year I get a 90 credit diploma. This will stick with me so, if my apprenticeship doesn’t go to plan, I will have something to go back to.”
Are you glad you decided to join the UTC and do you feel it has helped you prepare for your future?
“I’m really glad I joined. Being at the UTC helps massively with trying to get into the engineering industry as a lot of companies come through here like BMW MINI and we complete employer-led projects. The workshops help you with understanding what an employer is looking for. The engineering teachers have obviously been excellent and it’s great that they are ex professional engineers as they have more knowledge and experience from the industry rather than just teaching you from a textbook. When you’re building a circuit for example, they’re able to tell you shortcut ways and techniques that you are more likely to use when you go into the workplace.”