To recognise the Government’s Year of Engineering initiative to ‘inspire future engineers’, EEF is profiling some of the hundreds of engineering apprentices we train annually at our Aston Technology Hub. Here we profile Michael Badley, an apprentice maintenance technician at Severn Trent, about his experience at the WorldSkills UK National Competition (where we and his partner won Gold!) and why he’s glad he chose an apprenticeship in engineering.
What was it like at the Skills competition?
There was a lot of time spent preparing for WorldSkills competition. We were representing EEF and our employer Severn Trent Water, and we wanted to used the Skills completion as a platform to show off the skills that are taught at EEF. We were competing against some really skilled competitors, some of whom had been using these skills and competing longer than us.
But our tutor, Richard Pugh, provided us with great training from beginning to end. He has real life experience using PLC and building components that was really helpful.
The event took place over four days, which began at 8am and finished at 5pm with a 30 minute break. We worked assiduously to complete the tasks within the time allotted. There was alot of curious onlookers at our booth which made it us more determined to get the desired outcome which was a Gold medal.
It was estimated over 80,000 people were in attendance over the 4 days, the competition was about keeping focused, and not letting working in front of such a big audience become intimidating or distract us from doing our best. Our task included, but not limited to programming a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) and an HMI(Human Machine Interface) and also building an enclosure to house these components neatly.
What was it like to win Gold?
I was elated, ecstatic and excited. I couldn’t believe it when they announced it. I was overwhelmed to see all the hard work we put in pay off. (I don’t think I let the medal out of my hands for two days!)
What opportunities has being an apprentice opened up to you?
A huge benefit of an apprenticeship compared to university is that you have no debt to repay and you also earn while you learn. You also gain valuable work experience. I’m working toward completing my HNC qualification at EEF. With an apprenticeship you get the best of both worlds – experience and knowledge which gives an advantage over others who may have a university degree without experience.
The Government’s Year of Engineering is looking to ‘inspire future engineers’. What would you say to inspire young people to consider a career in engineering?
Engineering is a very exciting and versatile field to be in, you could have a background in the food industry and easily transfer your skills into the oil or water industry. Being an engineer involves fluid thinking and problem solving skills. As the world evolves and becomes more technological there will be a greater need for engineers.
Did you ever attend an Open Day at EEF’s Technology Hub?
Yes, I attended several Open Days to get a wider insight into what apprenticeships entailed and also to see what opportunities other companies offered in the field of engineering
What’s next for you in your apprenticeship?
I finish my apprenticeship this autumn. I’ll likely work with Severn Trent afterwards. I’ve worked here for three years and learned so much, but there’s so much more I want to learn.
What are some of your career goals?
I see myself being a part of the ICA (Instrumentation Control & Automation) team in the future because I have a great interest working with PLCs.
To find out more about apprenticeships, visit EEF’s Technology Hub during our next Open Day.