Apprentice Helps Tackle Skills Gap at National Tube Stockholders

We have been working with our partners and businesses across the region to celebrate the positive opportunities apprenticeships can have for both the apprentice and the business employing them. We heard from local apprentices who are blazing a trail and firing up their careers and businesses opportunities across the patch.

Jack Walker is an apprentice with National Tube Stockholders.

My name is Jack Walker, I’m 20 years old and from Guisborough, North Yorkshire. I’m currently in the second year of an advanced apprenticeship with National Tube Stockholders where I am training to become an electrically biased Maintenance Engineer. National Tube Stockholders is based on Dalton Industrial Estate in North Yorkshire.

I came across my apprenticeship via the training association that my apprenticeship is run by; Derwent Training Association. After applying to the training association and undergoing aptitude tests and an interview with their employment organiser, he recommended me to employers whose requirements matched what I could offer as an apprentice and this is how I came in to contact with NTS. I would recommend anyone actively looking for an apprenticeship employer to consider applying to your local training association as it is a really effective way of ensuring that you find an apprenticeship scheme that is catered to your skills and the employers’ requirements.

I am on a four-year advanced apprenticeship scheme which will give me a level 2 and level 3 qualification in various electrical, electronics and mechanical units. This involves the first 2-3 years spending one day per week at Derwent Training Association and the remainder of the week at work and then the final year will be fully work-based with assessors from DTA coming out to me to assess the jobs I am doing at work.

I have been working at NTS for around eighteen months now and I feel really comfortable to be a part of the company. When I first started my apprenticeship, I admit it felt a little daunting to be going to work somewhere where I didn’t know anyone but I was welcomed by everyone and found it easy to settle in.

Before coming to NTS I had no real work experience, as I had come from full-time education doing A -levels so it was quite a steep learning curve. However, I have gained many new practical skills and am now able to provide maintenance and repair to the CNC saws and overhead cranes that we have on-site, for example. I am now confident in using CAD, welding and light fabrication, PLC programming and I am constantly building on my fault-finding techniques.

It’s been made really easy for me to absorb as much knowledge as I can while being here as alongside the normal day to day task. My apprenticeship mentor has set me a range of projects to develop my understanding in different aspects of my job. The opportunity to undergo my apprenticeship at NTS has given me the pathway I needed into having a successful career in engineering and for that I feel very fortunate.

The main quality that apprenticeships bring is a constant flow of skilled people throughout the business which is why I believe it’s so important that sectors with a shortage of skilled workers increase their intake of apprentices. The main benefit I have brought to NTS is that I am a young employee that is eager to learn new skills, this helps the company in trying to cater my skillsets as an engineer to my specific job which, by the time I am through my apprenticeship and fully trained, will make me a valuable employee to the company with a lot of experience and knowledge of this particular industry.

I am now a big advocate for apprenticeships! Throughout school and even through into sixth form, the attitude among many of the teachers and students was always that to have a successful career you had to go to university. However, I always felt that staying in full-time education and gaining a degree to work in an industry without yet having worked in it before was almost doing things the wrong way around. Having worked as an apprentice for eighteen months I would definitely stand by the opinion that apprenticeships are the optimal route towards a career in engineering especially because you learn the basic skills that you otherwise wouldn’t when in full-time education while still developing the technical knowledge required to do the job.

Any business that requires skilled workers catered to that discrete industry in order to aid in providing their service or manufacturing their product should definitely consider introducing an apprenticeship scheme as it a well-worth investment that can directly benefit the company’s growth and security.

I can certainly see a future for myself at NTS after my apprenticeship as it is a great place to work; they offer me plenty of chances to develop my skills as an engineer and they put support in place for me to achieve not only what they have set out for me but also goals I have for myself.

If you are interested in hiring an apprentice, visit our Apprenticeship Toolkit for Employers on our Growth Hub.

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