How to get into mechanical engineering
We recently spoke to one of the current apprentices training to become a mechanical engineer, we asked her what it was like to work in the sector and what she would recommend to those people looking becoming an apprentice in the engineering and manufacturing sector.
You can read below what Alana thinks of her apprenticeship so far and why she recommends this route into engineering.
Job title: Apprentice Mechanical Manufacturer
- Why did I choose engineering?
I chose engineering because there is a growing skills shortage in this particular industry at this time, even though it is filled with amazing opportunities! It's a real career with real money and many interesting routes to go down. I also feel that there is a lack of women in the engineering industry and wanted to put my mind into something challenging yet interesting and exciting, and think other women should too.
- Why did I choose to do an apprenticeship?
I have always felt that apprenticeships are a brilliant way to train for a long term career rather than a short term job, and still earn some good money, rather than paying thousands for university. It gives recognised qualifications and wonderful opportunities, and gives the chance to learn and train with other people my age. Getting onto a mechanical manufacturing apprentice programme has been a great start to my engineering career. If you aren’t sure about what apprenticeship would be right for you, there is a really great quiz you can take to give you some pointers. You can find the quiz here on the EEF website https://www.eef.org.uk/apprentices/become-an-apprentice/how-to-find-and-apply-for-an-apprenticeship/apprenticeship-matching-quiz
- How to get into an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering?
To apply for an apprenticeship you will need to have 4/5 A*-C GCSEs and these will need to include; science, English and maths. You should also have a passion for practical hands on tasks and a good eye for detail.
As a mechanical manufacturing apprentice you be focusing on skills around milling, Turning, CNC, Fitting, Engineering Drawings, quality. As a Mechanical maintenance apprentice, you will be supporting the Engineers with the maintenance of the plant and equipment within the factory and undertake preventative maintenance tasks. You will work in areas which may cover Engineering Maintenance Procedures and Techniques, Applications of Mechanical Systems and Electro, Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems and Devices to name but a few.
- What do I enjoy most about being a mechanical engineering apprentice?
I enjoy the hands on learning experience that both my work place and EEF have to offer, it's a fun and easy way to learn. I also love being able to do the skills I have learnt at EEF into practise at work and expanding on my skills. It helps me to be a hardworking and active part of a team, which gives me amazing job satisfaction at the end of every day.
- Advice for others looking on starting an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering?
I would say, take time to choose the job role and company you feel is best suited to you and your abilities, but on the same point don't underestimate how much you can push yourself and ultimately how much you can achieve! You will get out of your apprenticeship what you put into it, so work hard, have fun and don't waste the opportunity that you have been given.
How to find and apply for an apprenticeship:
Most companies who are looking for apprentices open their vacancies in January and you can keep an eye on these vacancies on the National Apprenticeships website.
EEF work with a whole range of engineering and manufacturing companies and you can see the apprenticeship vacancies by visiting EEF's website.