The theme for this year’s National Apprentice Week is ‘Build the Future: Train, Achieve, Retain’.
We caught up with one of our degree apprentices, Scott Kinsella, to get a take on these topics through his experience.
What are you training in?
I am undertaking a degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Bolton University. The degree is an apprenticeship degree, meaning while also completing the degree part of the course I also am required to complete an apprenticeship program at the same time. I am currently in year 3 of a 4 ½ year course.
Has anything surprised you about your training?
The biggest surprise is how quickly the time passes! I was also pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got back into the flow of learning after time out.
How easy or difficult has this route been for you?
The route is gradually getting more difficult as the years pass, but I suppose this is true with any training: the higher the level you learn at, the greater the difficulty. Having two young children reduces the time at which I can set aside for learning, meaning I sacrifice most of my evening and weekends to ensure I am committing enough time to learning the course material.
What will you be qualified to do and are you considering further training afterwards?
Once my degree is completed it will give me all the qualifications and learning outcomes required to be able to apply for professional registration with the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology). Further training is 100% something I will be interested in, whether that be a master’s degree through a university or other training course such as project management with an external provider, as I would like to continue working towards chartered engineer status.
What achievements are you proud of either at Uni or on the job?
My biggest achievement was being offered the opportunity to make the transition from electrician on-site to trainee electrical designer based in the office at Firecrest (Warrington head office). This was something I had strived for over many years.
I am also proud of my marking brackets. In every module I have undertaken (HNC and Degree), I have come away with a mark of a distinction or a first.
Are you working towards any other goals?
In my team, we are constantly working towards goals delivering water utilities projects. They include giving the best design and project management services, delivering real quality, in budget, on time and always being beneficial to the wider user.
What challenges have you come up against?
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge has been the effects of the current Covid-19 Pandemic. This has meant that all my university lectures are now on Zoom, so trying to complete and digest these while also having two young children in the house (one supposed to be home schooling) is a challenge at times to say the least!
Another challenge is trying to find the balance between university learning, home life and work projects. Currently the solution involves many late nights and early mornings.
How have you been supported in your journey?
My employers has been fantastic from the very start, they have supported me at every stage whether that be my very first apprenticeship back in 2010 or – more recently – my HNC and Degree.
An example of this is the regular catch-up meeting with myself and a representative from University – also attended by my line manager, Jon Waring, and Lucy Speed from HR – to ensure I am meeting all the required learning outcomes and support me with any issues I may be facing.
Currently Lucy Speed is also supporting myself with my ILP (Individual Learning Plan), a document that logs all my learning achievement in work and university, that will allow me to apply for professional registration at the end of my course.
Glyn Shawcross (Engineering and Design Director) is also still in regular contact with myself and Bolton University to ensure I am getting all the support I require, even though I am no longer in his department.
My company has not only supported my me with the above, but they have also funded my learning each step of the way, allowing me to get to the current position I am today.
Has working here ever inspired you?
There are several people at work that have inspired me over the years, holding different roles within the business that I look up to. The biggest inspiration though is the whole ethos here and how committed everybody is to the business. Its fantastic to be a part of.
Can you see a long-term future with us?
Definitely. It’s a fantastic company to be a part of. I think it is fair to say that – as the company has invested so much time, support, and funding into my path – I should return that commitment, using the knowledge and qualification I have gained, to benefit the company going forward.
Where do you see the future of your industry?
I can see the electrical industry making huge strides to make the industry as clean and green as possible. This has already begun in some sectors with the installation of waste to energy plants and renewable energy. I believe this will just be the first steps that the industry will take in trying to reduce its pollution and carbon footprint. I think it is a fantastic industry to be part of with potentially exciting times ahead!