Ask an apprentice: Sean Hawthorne Pujana

We talked to Sean about his experiences as an apprentice at Capula, here's what he said:

Q. What Apprenticeship are you currently studying for?

A. I am currently studying a Level 6 Embedded Electronic Systems Design Development Engineer Apprenticeship

Q. Who or what inspired you to take up an apprenticeship at Capula?

A. I heard about Capula whilst studying at Newcastle Stafford College Group (NSCG). I have always been more logically minded and found a particular interest in STEM subjects at school. When I found out more about Capula and what they do, it seemed like an exciting opportunity for me.

Q. Route into an apprenticeship?

A. I started my apprenticeship with Capula after completing a Level 3 BTEC in Engineering. I’ve always had an interest in engineering because it’s primarily about solving problems and asking questions. How does something work? Why has that happened? Why is it broken and what can be done to fix it? This analytical side of engineering really appeals to me and attracted me to pursue an apprenticeship in the subject.

Q. What does your typical day in the workplace include?

A. A typical day starts with a meeting with my line manager who will assign my tasks for the day. Throughout the day I will support other colleagues with tasks including modifying drawings and organising equipment to take onto site.

I’ve found that I enjoy working on my own, but it’s nice knowing that my team are approachable and will support me if I need any help.

Q. What skills have you developed during your apprenticeship?

  • AutoCAD Electrical skills
  • Teamworking
  • Time management
  • Knowledge of Engineering industry

Q. What is your college/work life balance like?

A. I have found at times creating the right work/life balance is challenging, so it’s something I am trying to improve on as I progress through my apprenticeship. Currently, I find the best way to stay on top of all my work is to plan and manage my time ahead. However, I think it’s also important to make it a priority to give time back to yourself. When the workload becomes overwhelming, sometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself a day off to recharge and approach the task in a new light.

Q. Why did you decide to progress onto an apprenticeship over university?

A. I chose to start my career as an apprentice as I prefer the more ‘hands-on method’ of learning compared to the theory. I think the practical skills you gain through an apprenticeship, particularly in a subject like engineering, will reap far more benefits for my career progression and will help me to better understand how things work in real life scenarios.

Q. Have you been able to get involved in any major projects?

I've been involved in a number of major projects with critical national infrastructure customers in power generation and the wider energy sector. I’ve been responsible for delivering a number of things associated with solution design including working on design drawings, specifically making them “Verified as Installed” which basically means that all the changes that have been made to the drawings have been validated as being installed on site. This has helped me to get used to the design and engineering processes.

I’ve also been involved in carrying out small modifications on other drawings (adding wires, removing obsolete items, updating drawing titles) which I’ve really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to getting the chance to work at customer sites, where I can get a better understanding of how the modifications I have worked on will be implemented.

Q. How has Capula supported you through your apprenticeship?

A. So far, I feel well supported by Capula. I have regular one to one sessions with the careers team and my university lecturers, ensuring I am on track with both my work and personal goals. I have also found the environment at Capula to be very open, so when I have any problems or queries co-workers are very approachable and always happy to help.

Q. What would your advice be to somebody thinking about studying an apprenticeship?

A. For anyone thinking about considering an apprenticeship, I’d say go for it! In my opinion, there’s not really a downside, you just need to be willing to learn – and you must have passion for the subject you are studying to help to drive you forward. Not every day is easy, but that spark is what is going to get you out of bed for work or get you to university. Ultimately, it’s your life and career path, and it’s a lot easier to stick with something if you enjoy what you’re doing.

Q. What do you hope to do next?

A. I’m keen to progress within Capula and gain experience across different departments. There are many different sectors that Capula support, so I’ve got plenty of opportunities to broaden my knowledge and experience within the company. I’m currently enjoying working in the electrical transmission and distribution sector, but in the future I’m keen to learn more about the processes involved in Nuclear projects.

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