Adult Engineering Apprentice at Britvic case study - Darren Jackson

Taste Success - A Future in Food

Having joined Britvic's apprenticeship scheme in August 2010 at the age of 35, Darren might not be quite what you would imagine when you first think of apprentices.

His enthusiasm for the course, however, is a clear reflection of how he believes it will
help him progress to the next stage of his career, with help and support from Britvic and
his colleagues in Rugby, becoming a capable and knowledgeable engineer.

Previous experience

Darren has been with Britvic for ten years now, previously working as a technical
operator in Rugby.

Everyone who works in the organisation has a clear personal progression plan, allowing
Britvic to develop highly skilled and world class professionals who go on to progress and
attain valued positions within the organisation. As a part of this plan, it was suggested to
Darren that he might like to consider taking on more of a leadership position, or that he
could start an apprenticeship to facilitate a move into the engineering department.

As Darren had worked with the engineering teams previously, and been interested in
what they do, he decided that this was the best option for him.

Being a part of the apprenticeship scheme

Darren says: “I am thoroughly enjoying the scheme so far. There is never a dull moment

as I am learning new skills every day and every day is different. Splitting the learning
between three core subjects of pneumatics, welding and electricals means I develop an
understanding of all the elements that underpin an engineer's job. Splitting my time half
and half between theory and practice, I build up an appreciation of why different tasks
and processes occur, while seeing how they happen in practice.”

Darren feels that the Midland Group Training Services, which delivers the programme,
help make this way of learning relevant and interesting as the course leaders are all from
a working background, and 'instruct' rather than 'lecture', outlining first hand examples of
when they have carried out tasks in relevant scenarios.

As Darren can still pop into the factory on a Friday, he is able to keep abreast with
developments taking place in the organisation. He values the opportunity to keep close
to his colleagues and see how the skills he is learning will help him move forward within
the organisation.

Looking to the future

Darren is looking forward to the programme becoming more specialised in the second
year and working towards his NVQ Level 3 in Engineering Maintenance. Whereas the
first year is taken up with full time learning, from the second year onwards, he will be
working on-site achieving technical competencies with day release for study.

At the moment Darren is focusing on finishing the four year apprenticeship and
becoming a capable and knowledgeable engineer. On completion of his training Darren
is confident that Britvic will find him a full time Engineering post for his fifth year so he
can put all of his training into practice and further build upon his skills.

Darren would recommend other people to join this scheme. He likes the mixture of
theory and practical learning, and says that the support that Britvic gives him is first
rate. His company really recognises the importance of having talented people working
for them and the contribution that the engineers in particular bring to innovation and
continuous improvement which are vital in the soft drinks industry.

Britvic has a real 'family' ethos and he has been offered help above and beyond the
formal training from colleagues. An example of this is that, when revisiting maths for the
first time in over fifteen years, a colleague offered to give Darren his father's telephone
number, as he worked as a maths teacher and might have been able to help Darren pick
the subject back up – Darren was very grateful for the thought although he hasn't had to
take him up on the offer.

As well as support within the individual sites, there is also plenty of support between the
other apprentices. Darren is a little older and has a wife and child, with another one on
the way, so he doesn't get involved as much as some might, however it is good to know
the network is there if he wants it!

Darren's family takes up a lot of his time and with another baby on the way this is likely
to be even more the case in the future. When he does have a moment's free time, he
likes fishing and racing radio controlled electrical cars, something that he hopes his
apprenticeship will help as it will build his understanding of how they work!

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