Two Apprentice Maintenance Engineers joined Briar Chemicals this summer to start their training to become qualified engineers.
Jacob, 18 years old and Niall, 17 years old enrolled on a four-year engineering apprenticeship course at the EEF Engineering Training Centre in Birmingham, as part of Briar’s Apprenticeship Programme.
The young apprentices will spend their first year off-the-job training at EEF and will gain broad-based engineering skills and a BTEC qualification. They will continue the programme at Briar’s site in Norwich, building skills and knowledge to achieve a Level 3 in Mechatronics Maintenance.
Learning on the job
Apprentice engineer Jacob said: ”In my first few weeks at EEF, I have learnt about electrical wiring and testing for both domestic and commercial installations, hydraulics and business improvement. I have also been studying for a BTEC qualification involving Maths, Health and Safety and engineering drawing.”
Niall chose an apprenticeship to gain skills and practical knowledge and to be able to obtain work experience in the industry.
Creating skills for the future
Following a recent visit to EEF in Birmingham, Bert Botha, Head of Engineering at Briar Chemicals said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of learning and help create a skilled workforce. In both Jacob and Niall, we see the future not just for Briar Chemicals but for engineering and chemical manufacturing in the UK.”
“Vitally, we need motivated, skilled employees to support Briar’s business growth strategy. Our excellent infrastructure and talented team has attracted a new customer to place a project with us. We are due to start production of their new product in April 2018, involving a major engineering project. By April 2018 we will have invested £5 million in plant and equipment and we expect further new projects to follow. So we need to be able to equip the business with the necessary resources.”
By learning the basics and becoming competent with various engineering skills Jacob feels he will settle into the workplace more easily and with confidence instead of starting with little understanding.
Jacob said: “As well as support from EEF, Briar Chemicals also maintain contact when I am away to make sure I’m coping well with living away from home. I have been made to feel valued as I have been surrounded by a good bunch of people.”
“Working with other apprentices allows you to share skills to help each other develop. Everyone is friendly and welcoming as we are all facing the same situations.”
Inspiring the next generation of engineers
Niall said: “One of my dreams from a young age was to become an engineer and obtain a degree in Engineering. This apprenticeship is the first stage and Briar Chemicals have made this possible.”
Jacob, who is interested in the problem solving aspect of engineering said: “Being at EEF means that I am able to study and learn about my future career, without financial debt at the end of the course.”
I would definitely recommend this opportunity, through Briar Chemicals and EEF, to aspiring engineers who want to begin their career.
Briar’s apprenticeship programme continues its success with two apprentices completing their four-year course and joining the company as full time employees in the engineering department.