Introducing this week’s apprentice..
Name: Yaser Rauf
Job Title: Mechanical Engineer
Company: MTL Group
What's a typical day like for you?
My working day can vary from offline programming to designing a part on a design package to setting and operating a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine.
Working in the Advanced Machining Department, I machine the world's toughest protection plate for the defence sector or hard wearing components for the construction industry.
As a trainee in the design and offline programming department, I am learning how to use CAD/CAM package for designing components and developing offline programming skills to execute the designs.
What has been the most memorable day of your apprenticeship so far?
Getting recognised for my hard work and winning a number of Apprentice of the Year titles has been the highlight of my career. I have been awarded SMC (Systems, Man, and Cybernetics) International Training Award 2011, National Apprentice of the Year for Yorkshire and the Humber 2012, Highly Commended by EEF Future Manufacturing Award 2012 and BTEC Apprentice of the Year 2013 at the national round.
Why did you decide to become an apprentice?
From a young age, I had always been interested how mechanical engineering works and wanted to get hands on approach to the practical side but I also wanted to get a degree. So I looked at what an Apprenticeship had to offer and felt it was the best way to get in the career I wanted.
What are the best things about being an apprentice?
Having completed my Advanced Apprenticeship, I am now completing a Higher Apprenticeship. I am studying Mechanical Engineering one day a week at university and I get to use and apply this technical knowledge every week in practical applications at work. So the best part of an apprenticeship is being able to solve engineering problems from what I learn from both university and work.
What are the best things about working in the industry you work in?
The manufacturing sector is growing and companies like my employer, MTL Group, take full advantage of this growing market. This means there are more opportunities to learn, more opportunities to climb the career ladder and more exciting engineering projects to work on.
What's the most surprising thing you've learnt during your apprenticeship?
What really surprised me while doing an Apprenticeship is how such a complex system of engineering can be viewed in such a simple way using the right tools. Everything in engineering looks impossible to understand at the outset but once it has been broken down into sections, it becomes easy to interpret and allows me to implement a solution/improvement to the system.
What would you say to someone thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?
I would totally recommend Apprenticeships to anyone interested. Having the technical and practical advantage certainly helps moving up the career ladder as well as solving interesting real life engineering problems.
What do you think are the biggest myths about apprenticeships?
People believe that an advanced and higher apprenticeship route is not equivalent to going to college then proceeding onto university. I have first-hand experience and can say that an apprenticeship is a fantastic alternative route to getting educated and gaining practical skills. Higher Apprenticeships like mine are a practical way of getting a degree, while learning (and earning) from a real job.
What do you expect to be doing in 10 years time?
I am currently training to become a Design Engineer and Offline Programmer. In ten years’ time, my career goal is to become Chief Design & Development Engineer at MTL. I am taking every opportunity to develop my skills to ensure I achieve my goal.
Why an apprenticeship rather than university?
Going down the apprenticeship route has worked out very well for me so I am glad I chose this route. I have a secured job and get to learn new skills every day.
I am studying at university which gives new knowledge of how mechanical engineering works in theory. Getting the right support is crucial and the support that I get from my employer is absolutely fantastic. I could not have asked for anything more.
What advice would you give someone leaving school or college now?
Look at what an Apprenticeship offers. Contact local Apprenticeship providers to see what opportunities there are. Find out as much information you can. Visit the National Apprenticeship Service website apprenticeships.org.uk. Compare the apprenticeship route to a college and university route. Think about what you want from your career and which route would help you the most in getting there. This is the research to make sure an apprenticeship or a college course is right for you. It does take time but it is time that is invested in your future.
If you have made up your mind about working in a particular industry then contact local employers within that industry and ask if they offer Apprenticeship and whether you can visit them for a tour and to get more information.
For more information on apprenticeships visit apprenticeships.org.uk