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It's National Apprenticeship Week, so we thought, what better time to catch up with one of our higher apprenticeship students to share an insight into his experience so far...

As a higher apprentice, Ben studies a HNC in electrical and electronic engineering one day a week at Redcar and Cleveland College, whilst working full-time as an electrical service technician at Dale Power Solutions.

Since joining the company in 2016, he has already experienced natural progression in his role, including a new job title and increasing responsibilities. The company has further invested into Ben’s career by funding his higher apprenticeship, which is strengthening his personal growth and professional development.

Now working around the UK and classed as a keyworker during the pandemic, we caught up with the 20-year-old, who is in his second year of his higher apprenticeship.

Why did you choose a higher apprenticeship?

I started my initial training with the company in Scarborough in 2016 for two years, where I was part of the manufacturing and testing team. From there I developed the base knowledge that I needed and as an established member of the service team, it was agreed in a progression meeting with my manager, Mark, that I could progress with my academic studies.

After speaking with the College’s engineering tutor, Brian, I knew that a level 4 HNC was the next step for me academically. I was pleased to hear that it was in partnership with Teesside University and Brian mentioned how I could attend college one day a week, whilst continuing to work full-time. It was then that I decided that the higher apprenticeship in electrical and electronic engineering was the best route for me!

How is the higher apprenticeship benefitting you?

Whilst studying at the College, I have been given more responsibilities in my role at work and I’m constantly applying my knowledge and skills in the workplace. I’m gaining the desired understanding and mouldable attributes that an employer is looking for and the higher apprenticeship is aiding my natural progression.

How is the HNC benefitting you?

The HNC is really challenging, especially the physics and mathematics modules, but it stretches your boundaries, boosts your skillset and is great for when you’re in the industry.

The industry knowledge from the tutors is fantastic and they are always there to support you through your studies. You’re in a class with other like-minded individuals, so you benefit from hearing about their experiences, you get exposure to different aspects of other’s job roles and you can share best practice with one another.

What are the most valuable modules on the course?

I feel really lucky because the equipment at Dale Power Solutions is very advanced in the engineering industry, so by going through an industrial employer and doing the work I do, I feel like 70% of the HNC is tailored to me and my job role.

The HNC has given me a good understanding of the ins and outs of electrical engineering, as the course is so industry specific. The ‘utilisation’ and ‘digital and analogue devices and circuits’ modules have helped me the most, as I can confidently apply my knowledge and skills when I’m working in an environment with heavy industry.

What are your hopes for the future?

I’m enjoying progressing and I’m looking forward to continuing with my studies. I’m benefiting academically and practically within the industry and the higher apprenticeship has really motivated me to advance in my career.

In the future, I’d like to gain a BEng (Hons) degree, potentially at Teesside University. My ultimate career goal is to be a technical support or senior service engineer, where I’m providing critical support and running projects in industry!

Redcar & Cleveland College offers a range of higher apprenticeships and higher education engineering courses, in partnership with Teesside University. Click here to find out more about the opportunities available, upcoming events, and book your place at the college’s next higher education online open event.

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