February 28, 2018
I am undertaking a three year apprenticeship at BG Engineering in Chesterfield. It is a precision engineering company that specialises in machining of gas valves, high pressure cylinders and utilities.
At the end of my apprenticeship I will have gained a Level 3 BTEC National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. I am currently in the first year and my time is split between studying at Chesterfield College on day release and working on site at BG Engineering’s Chesterfield facility.
I originally chose to go into further education after leaving school, but soon after starting my course I realised it wasn’t the right path for me. I work better and develop my skills quicker in a more hands-on environment. So after a lot of research and weighing up my options I decided to give an apprenticeship a try, and I’m so glad that I did.
I am mentored by BG Engineering’s Senior Technical Engineers, who are teaching me how to safely set and operate a range of CNC machine tools to produce precision machined components from many different materials using engineering drawings. I am also learning how to inspect components we have produced using the appropriate measuring and gauging equipment.
BG Engineering recently invested in a new apprentice machine cell, which incorporates both manual and CNC capabilities. I have learnt how to fully operate the machine cell and currently use it to develop my traditional machining, lathe and milling techniques. This enables me to learn both traditional and practical machining skills, as well as working with the latest CNC technology; things that I will do regularly when I am fully qualified and working independently.
Definitely, choosing an apprenticeship was the best decision I could have made. There’s no better opportunity than being able to earn whilst studying and work in a role that you can continue to develop into a career after gaining your qualifications. Apprenticeships also give you the chance to gain hands on experience and work alongside engineers that have been in the industry for many years and have great knowledge and expertise.
After completing my apprenticeship, I will continue to work at BG Engineering and use the knowledge and skills I have gained to further develop my career and expertise. I also plan to continue studying by enrolling on a course to achieve a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Mechanical Engineering. This is considered to be one of the benchmark qualifications for the industry and equivalent to a first year university programme. Following this, I may also consider working towards a Higher National Diploma (HND), which is the equivalent to gaining a second year university degree.