We talked to Jack about his experiences as an apprentice at Capula, here's what he said:
Q. What Apprenticeship are you currently studying for (or have recently completed)?
A. I have recently completed a Level 6 Embedded Electronic Systems Design Development Engineer Apprenticeship Degree.
Q. Who or what inspired you to take up an apprenticeship at Capula?
A. What attracted me to Capula was the opportunity for career progression. I moved from a testing role at another employer into a design role at Capula as they offered greater opportunity to work in multiple job roles and different sectors.
Q. Route into an apprenticeship?
A. I began my career doing an earlier apprenticeship – including 4 years at level 3 inc. NVQ Portfolio.
Q. What does your typical day in the workplace include?
A. A typical day for me includes attending customer meetings, completing design work, producing technical documentation and joining weekly progress meetings to provide feedback to production and project managers on the progress of a project.
Q. What skills have you developed during your apprenticeship?
- AutoCAD Electrical
- Underpinning electrical knowledge
- Machinery/ Functional Safety
- Ability to write technical reports
Q. What was your college/work life balance like?
A. Managing a work/life balance can be tricky at the best of times but it’s even harder when you are studying. However, I think I have been successful in demonstrating an equal balance between my career and personal commitments, which has enabled me to complete two house renovations and plan a wedding at the same time.
Q. Why did you decide to progress onto an apprenticeship over university?
A. Choosing to do an apprenticeship has allowed me to earn a wage whilst studying, test my knowledge in real life scenarios, and train for the career that I want.
Q. What has been your greatest achievement during your apprenticeship?
A. My main achievements have been successfully completing and optimising the design of the prototype panel of the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Marshalling Cabinets. The cabinets are a first of a kind to be designed and made in the UK and will link the station’s control systems together – playing a vital role in the station’s long term operations.
I had to balance the demands of the contract; whilst simultaneously managing a team on another project, overseeing the manufacturing of previous designs, and being the point of contact for the quality and customer acceptance testing. Although I was juggling multiple projects at once, I was able to manage my own workload to support both contracts.
I also see my BEng Honours Degree as my greatest achievement due to the commitment that it required over a 10-year period.
Q. Have you been able to get involved in any major projects?
A. I have been involved in several major projects since working at Capula, including a senior role within the design team for the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Marshalling Cabinet contract. The initial requirements for this project were to take the original conceptual design and optimise for production and site installation.
As part of my role, I have been required to lead small teams and develop my mentorship skills to bring other junior engineers on board. The role is fast paced and very demanding so has required relentless effort from the whole team to meet the project deadlines.
Q. How did Capula supported you through your apprenticeship?
A. Capula has provided me with financial support by funding the course, in addition to helping me to achieve a realistic work/life balance by offering 1 day off a week to attend university.
Q. What would your advice be to somebody thinking about studying an apprenticeship?
A. Unless you want to experience the “university lifestyle”- I honestly wouldn’t recommend doing anything other than an apprenticeship. You can earn whilst you learn, gain valuable industry experience, and increase your chances of having a full-time job after completion.
Q. What do you hope to do next?
A. My next achievement is to complete the IEng registration, which I am currently working towards. Longer term I aspire to achieving my CEng registration in addition to working towards a more senior position as a Project Manager or Principal Engineer.