Here's a Q&A with Heeran Basi, an Instrumentation Apprentice with Severn Trent Water looking at what a typical day is like and why he chose to do an apprenticeship.
What qualifications have you or will you achieve as part of your apprenticeship?
- B-Tech Level 3 in Engineering
- NVQ Level 2
- Trailblazer in Instrumentation, Control & Automation
What is typical day like for you?
A typical day for me will begin at 7:30, at this point we usually have a look at what jobs we have planned for the day and whether we will be required to work elsewhere or stay onsite. We then attend a comm cell meeting where everyone onsite gathers to discuss work that has been carried out and work that needs doing. We also discuss things that have gone well and things that can be improved. This usually starts around 7:45 and finishes around 8:30. Following this, we prepare the materials and tools needed for the day and load the van. We then set out to the first job. Prior to each job we must complete health and safety checks and inform all the appropriate people of the work we are about to carry out. We then complete the job and fill out all relevant paperwork. Once the job is completed we fill out a job card online and send it back to the planners. This explains what we’ve done, what the outcome was and if any further work is required. We have a lunch break between 12-1pm and then carry on with jobs the planner sends us. At the end of the day we review with the other maintenance workers what jobs have been done and which ones need to be a priority for the following day.
What are the top 3 things you enjoy about being an apprentice?
- Being an apprentice is a brilliant opportunity to gain experience alongside your qualifications. This experience will teach you the appropriate behaviours that match those expected from the company. This home-grown method allows the company to mould you into an employee that can be valuable to the business in the future. From a personal perspective, the experience you gain will help you to stand out when you look to progress in your career.
- An apprenticeship can allow you to get to know a business from a range of angles that you may not be able to experience if you were to apply straight into a job role. As an apprentice you’ll be expected to spend some time shadowing an experienced employee while they carry out your future role. Spending time with an experienced employee will allow you to gain an in-depth knowledge of the roleand the business you are entering. In addition, as you are not assigned your own jobs due to authorisation restrictions it is a great opportunity to spend time with a range of employees in different areas that you may see yourself in the future or that you think will benefit you when carrying out your own role. This will help you to network within the business and build your contacts.
- Coming into a company as an apprentice provides you with extra support and guidance as you make the transfer from a life of study to a life of work. A major concern for many people studying a degree is the cost per year. Just to study a degree costs appx £9000 and this does not include accommodation, food, travel etc. Studying an apprenticeship will allow you to earn money whilst gaining your qualifications to decrease the debt you find yourself in when you complete your degree. In addition, many companies now provide employees with extra support as they see further study as a desirable characteristic of their employees. Furthermore, you get a chance to enter the work environment and spend a prolonged period of time just learning the role without any responsibility. Entering the workforce immediately after school can seem like a daunting task for people so young, so an apprenticeship can provide you with guidance as you look to slowly gain more and more responsibility as your skills develop.
What advice would you give for someone looking to get into engineering?
There are many different types of engineering so the first thing I would advise is that find out as much as you can about each type of engineering and then see which type you think most suits you. All types have an endless amount to learn as they are based in many diverse and constantly changing sectors, so it is up to you how much you wish to learn and how much you wish to advance your skillset. Once you have chosen it will make it a lot easier to decide which direction you want your career to progress.
Engineering is all about learning how things work, so if you have an interest about how things function in the world around you then you have a great opportunity to excel in this field. I will always stress the importance of finding a career that both interests you and that you enjoy, as this is vital to ensure that you stay happy at work and perform to the best of your ability. The opportunities in this sector are endless and any business that requires construction, repair or control will require an engineer.
Engineers will always be an important part of many businesses and the job will constantly provide new challenges to keep you on your toes. The last thing I would advise is that you take every opportunity you can to learn new skills and further your knowledge. It is always best to write the things you think are valuable and wish to remember!