Adam Bytheway is a mechanical technician at Chemoxy International, one of Europe’s leading chemical contract manufacturers. He was able to train and qualify for his role through an engineering apprenticeship with the company.
Here, he takes a look at why an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering could be a rewarding career choice for your child.
Finding the right career path is never easy, especially as a young person looking to take the next step in their training. As a parent, you’ll want to provide your child with as much support as possible in this decision. A good way of doing so is by helping them explore options they might not have considered on their own.
One alternative that can often be overlooked is enrolling on an apprenticeship scheme. In this article, I’d like to discuss why becoming a mechanical engineering apprentice might be the right choice for your child, as well as offer some advice based on my own experience.
Will a mechanical engineering apprenticeship be right for my child?
A mechanical engineering apprenticeship won’t be for everyone, so it’s worth considering whether your son or daughter suits the industry on the whole, as well as training as an apprentice.
If your child’s favourite subjects are science and maths, or they have a passion for discovering how things work, mechanical engineering might be the perfect fit. And, if they want a career full of excitement, a job in the industry will mean they are right on the cutting edge of technology.
Do you think your child would benefit from real work experience sooner rather than later? Do they excel more in a practical learning environment over an academic one? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, an apprenticeship could be the ideal way to advance their career.
Why enrol on a mechanical engineering apprenticeship?
If you think your child might enjoy a career in mechanical engineering, it’s well worth presenting an apprenticeship as a route into the industry. Let’s take a look at some of the things they could benefit from if they enrol.
Learning on the job
One of the big attractions of an apprenticeship is the chance to be trained on the job. This can be advantageous to young people who prefer to learn by doing, rather than reading about it in an academic setting and covering the practical side later. This is one of the reasons that some people prefer to become an apprentice rather than entering higher education.
Speaking from my own experience, I’ve found mechanical engineers really benefit from this on the job learning, as there is a lot of problem solving that makes more sense if you can jump straight in and put it into practice. Working alongside experts in the field from day one has been very beneficial too, as there is so much that can be gained from watching them go about their tasks.
I was lucky to undertake an apprenticeship at Chemoxy, as they are a Trailblazer for their industry. This means that they’ve helped to design the standards that apprenticeships should meet to make sure that the training is relevant and of a high quality. As a result, my learning experience has been very thorough and really prepared me for full-time employment.
The Trailblazer model is becoming the standard for all apprenticeships in the UK, so it’s worth checking that any employer your son or daughter is applying to has adopted the relevant training.
Earning as they learn
Another big plus point for an apprenticeship is the fact that you can earn as you learn. Your son or daughter will be working for a real business who will pay them for the work that they do. This means that you can benefit from training, experience, and a wage at the same time.
This is the opposite of entering higher education, where your child will be expected to pay high fees to learn. What’s more, if they want to earn a wage at the same time, they will have to do this in the time around their studies. An apprenticeship can give them a good balance of both work and income, providing them with a little bit of financial independence.
Gaining a varied skillset and recognised qualifications
A mechanical engineering apprenticeship is a good choice as it will equip your son or daughter with a varied skillset that will serve them well in the future. To be an engineer requires training in computer applications, electronics, mathematics, and physics to name a few, so you can be confident that your child will still be academically challenged when undertaking an apprenticeship.
Your son or daughter will also get the opportunity to study for and achieve industry-related qualifications throughout their apprenticeship. For example, in my time at Chemoxy, I’ve had the chance to gain an NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Performance Engineering Operations, as well as working towards a HNC in Mechanical Engineering. I’ve mentioned the benefits of on the job training, but it’s also nice to have a chance to back up my progress with recognised qualifications.
Fantastic employment prospects
Training as a mechanical engineering apprentice can lead to fantastic employment prospects at the end of your course and beyond. This is mainly thanks to the skills gap the UK has found itself with over the past few years, which has seen qualified engineers in great demand across a number of sectors. An estimated 265,000 engineers per year are needed each year to keep up with demand (EngineeringUK), and this has meant that many firms are looking to train their own apprentices with the aim of them entering a full-time role at the end.
As a result, there is a real possibility that any mechanical engineering apprenticeship your child enrols upon will lead to a guaranteed job at the end, so they don’t have to enter the jobs market at a young age. What’s more, engineers are likely to remain in demand for many years to come, so their future employment prospects will be very bright, too.
I hope this article has given you some essential information about mechanical engineering apprenticeships. If you’d like to help them take the next step, the government’s apprenticeship search tool can help you to find opportunities in your area.
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Designed for professionals, the Career Alchemy blog mixes news, career trends and philosophy with "how to" advice to help you achieve happiness and success in your working life, no matter how much the world of work is changing.