As part of a partnership between British Engines and Tyne Coast College, three first year apprentices have recently started specialist assembly and test training at South Shields Marine School.

The facilities at the Marine School provide a unique, hands-on learning environment where the apprentices are able to develop their skills on a range of full-sized marine equipment within a workshop setting.

The apprentices will spend fifteen weeks at the Marine School completing their Level 2 Diploma in Engineering Operations and undertaking additional training. Five weeks of the training will be spent alongside a group of second year marine engineering cadets who have recently returned from sea. Being able to draw on the experience and skills of these degree-level students will enhance the apprentices’ learning and provide them with a widened support network during their training.

Alongside their diploma, the apprentices will receive training in electrical and mechanical maintenance, and pipework fabrication and welding. This additional training will provide the apprentices with a broader range of skills as they begin their careers in assembly and test.

After their time at the Marine School, the apprentices will be based at businesses across the British Engines Group, where they will apply their skills to live projects. In line with the apprenticeship programme, the apprentices will return to the Marine School once per week to complete their Level 3 qualifications.

We spoke with two of the apprentices, Dylan Hedley and James Marriner (pictured below), to find out about their time so far at the Marine School…

apprentices at marine school

Why did you apply for the British Engines Apprenticeship+ scheme?

Dylan: I’ve always been interested in engineering. My grandfather and father taught me how to fix engines and motors when I was around ten years old and I’ve been doing it as a hobby ever since.  My father was a mechanic when he was younger, then he got a job at Rotary Power and worked his way up to become a fitter. He was actually the one who suggested that I do my apprenticeship with British Engines.

James: I did my work experience at British Engines Group company, Michell Bearings, in Year 10 which I really enjoyed. So when I decided against university, I thought an apprenticeship at British Engines could be a good option. As part of my work experience I got to shadow people working on the CNC machines and in the workshop. It was good to have a chance to see the manual side and get an understanding of what the shop floor team were doing.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re doing at the Marine School?

Dylan: We’ve just finished our Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) NVQ, so we’ve done hand fitting, machining and turning. We’ve just started a new cycle studying plant, which involves stripping down the pumps and boilers so we can see how they work, how to fix them and how to put them back together. I’m really enjoying it so far!

James: After we’ve finished studying plant, we’ll be moving on to study electrical and then pipe-fitting. It’s been good having the chance to learn so much in such a short space of time. I’ve really enjoyed the fast-pace!

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Dylan: Hopefully working for British Engines! I’d like to have finished my apprenticeship and be working on the shop floor. In an ideal world it would be great to work my way up to a managerial position.

James: I’d also like to be working at British Engines, working towards further qualifications. Ideally, I’d like to do my HNC, HND and then get a degree that’s related to my job. I just want to go as far as I am able to!

What advice would you give to someone considering doing an apprenticeship at British Engines?

Dylan: As long as you’re willing to put the work in, go for it! It’s brilliant so I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys engineering.

James: You’ve got to find something that you’re going to enjoy. I was lucky to have done my work experience at Michell Bearings so I had an idea of what it might be like, so try to get some work experience if possible. The website was also helpful and gives a good idea of what you can expect. Just do as much research as you can!

We wish Dylan, James and Jay the best of luck with their training at the marine school and look forward to following their progress during their apprenticeships with us.

Our award-winning Apprenticeship+ scheme provides apprentices with invaluable hands-on experience in a range of engineering skills, alongside recognised professional qualifications.

Find out more about our unique Apprenticeship+ scheme here.