Whats it really like to be a STFC Advanced Engineering Apprentice

Name: Max Rowland

Brief Job Description: I am coming to the end of year 2 of the 4year Advanced Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering. I just have completed the B-TEC level 3 National Certificate in Engineering at Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and will be starting my Higher National Certificate at Newbury College in year 3.

Department: RAL Space, Precision Development Facility

Why did you choose an apprenticeship scheme?

I chose an apprenticeship scheme because I felt that taking the college/6th form route just wasn’t for me, I am a more hands on learner and prefer to put into practice the skills that I will learn. Here at RAL I get the opportunity to learn the practical skills alongside the theoretical side of engineering so I am putting my new knowledge gained to the test as well as earning and building a fantastic foundation to my future career. I feel that the experience of working through an apprenticeship is much more beneficial for future career opportunities than doing a college course or A-levels off your own back.

What has been your favourite training placement?

As I am only half way through my placement here in RAL Space, it is quite hard to say. I have really enjoyed all of my placements on site but I feel I got on particularly well in the R12 Technical Support Group Workshop; it was a brilliant placement that greatly improved my manual milling and turning skills. They had a good work load and some very challenging jobs that I feel I completed very well and benefited me as I could use them as evidence for my Level 3 NVQ units.

Hobbies and interests:

In my spare time I ride BMX and I am part of a team that is sponsored by a local

BMX retailer. I really enjoy doing this as I get to travel the country, meet new people and push myself to learn and improve my riding. This also means that I do a lot of maintenance on my bike to make sure it is in the best condition before each ride.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I would like to see myself having finished the apprenticeship, working full time in a placement that I really enjoy and studying for a degree that will allow me to better myself as a RAL employee. I would also like to consider the possibility to be able to work abroad in a facility similar to here for a year or two having completed all further education.


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