It’s National Apprenticeship Week! Having recently finished their apprenticeships, Matthew and Anthony tell us about their time so far at British Engines Group company, Rotary Power, and what’s next as they move into their new roles…
Congratulations to you both on completing your apprenticeships! Can you tell us a little bit about what you did as part of your apprenticeships?
Matthew: So the apprenticeship is split into two parts, firstly you have the factory side, where you go around different sections of the factory like fitting, machining and inspection. Then you’ve got the other side of it where you do your qualifications, like your NVQ and your BTECH. I started in 2016 so I just finished in September of this year.
Anthony: Yeah, for the first twelve weeks we were in the training school, learning the basics on milling, turning and fitting. Then we went on to travel around the factory, as Matthew said, getting to know all the different sections. After that you get put into the section that you prefer, which for me at the time was fitting, so I spent the final two years learning all the different fitting techniques and how to build different motors. In my final year, I chose to move on to the service department where I learnt how to fault find when parts were sent back for repairs.
Why did you choose to move from fitting to service Anthony?
Anthony: I liked the variety, so now I’m able to go out to our customers’ sites and see where the motors and pumps that we manufacture actually go, rather than just seeing them being put together.
Which parts of your apprenticeship would you say you both enjoyed the most?
Matthew: The variation of going around the different departments, particularly all the different machining parts, because you get a good knowledge of everything and a bigger picture of what the company does. My favourite part of the apprenticeship was definitely inspection and that’s the department that I ended up working in. I like the investigation side of it, so when things go wrong I have to find the problem and come up with a solution.
Anthony: I also enjoyed working in the training school and I liked the apprenticeship+ side of things, like working in teams to create a pump, for example. We were each given a machine to work on and we had to work together to make a working pump. Unfortunately ours didn’t end up working!
So now that you’ve completed your apprenticeships, can you tell us a little bit more about what your new roles look like?
Matthew: I’m a Quality Inspector, so day-to-day my tasks include checking jobs from both the factory and sub-contractors to make sure that they are made correctly. This is done by-hand using the manual equipment or by using the CMM (coordinate measuring machine) which is a device that measures the geometry of a part using a probe.
Anthony: I’m a Service Fitter, so we get the pumps and motors that are sent back to the factory and it’s my job to strip them down, fault find or see in what way they’ve broken. I then repair them and ship them back out to the customer. I also work on the hydraulic power side of things as well where I build drive units that are used all over the world (see page 8).
What are you both looking forward to about your new roles?
Matthew: Learning more, improving my skills and getting more knowledge of all aspects of engineering.
Anthony: Having a wider variety of work, getting to go out on-site and seeing more things. So far I’ve been to Barnsley and Ipswich with another engineer to remove an XXJ motor from a shredder before fitting a new one. I’m yet to go to a customer site abroad, so hopefully in the future I’ll get to do that!
Where do you both see yourselves in 5 years’ time?
Matthew: Well I’m halfway through my HNC at the moment which I should finish around June next year. After that I’d like to do more courses that will allow me to progress in my career.
Anthony: Hopefully doing my HND if all goes to plan and then just see where the world takes me!
What would you say are some of your favourite memories from your time so far at Rotary Power?
Matthew: I enjoyed Brathay, which was our week away team-building as part of the apprenticeship. It was good to do something a bit different; we got to do lots of activities and see everyone in a different light to how we would when we are at work. I felt like I got to know people a bit more. I also enjoyed my time in the training school where we learnt about all the different machines, especially the manual machines as I got a good foundation of knowledge from using them.
Anthony: I would definitely say Brathay as well because I got to see everyone in a different light, like Matthew said, and we got to have a good old free drink on the last day with all the managers! I’d also say my time at the training school, because most of us were fresh out of school, so it was fun learning along with everyone else who were all in the same boat.
Did either of you celebrate completing your apprenticeships?
Matthew: Well we couldn’t because of lockdown… I just continued as normal, working hard!
Anthony: Me neither, I just had a few drinks in the garden with my family.
We wish Matthew and Anthony the best of luck in their new roles and with their future studies!