Trainee engineer

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Jack Morris is a trainee engineer with a company who blend and pack a range of speciality high quality tea and coffee. Complex electrical and electronic equipment is used in this industry to ensure production efficiency and quality control.

What does your job involve?

I'm part of a small team that works to ensure every piece of machinery in our tea and coffee factory keeps working. We're responsible for all aspects of maintaining the machinery.

If we're installing new production lines, or if we need new machinery to pack a new product, I may have to travel abroad to help commission new equipment. Finally, we're also responsible for other technical site services, such as electrical installations, fire alarms and sprinkler systems.

Do you have a typical day?

No. Every day is very different. Certain things do re-occur such as preventative maintenance procedures, but due to the many different types of machinery we have on site, each day brings many new challenges.

What equipment do you use?

I use a very wide range of tools including different types of test equipment for electrical and electronic circuitry. I also use the general range of electrician's tools.

What was your route into this job as a trainee engineer?

Once I had completed my GCSEs I joined my present employer as an electrical engineering apprentice. I then trained for three years working through my Advanced Modern Apprenticeship gaining an NVQ Level 2 in Engineering Production (Machining), among other qualifications. Once I had completed my Apprenticeship, I enrolled on the BTEC National Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I'm currently in my second year.

Why did you choose to be a trainee engineer?

The main reason I decided to get into this field is because I have always been interested in technology and how it all works. What's better than doing a job you love and also earning a good living along the way?

What skills and qualities do you need to be a trainee engineer

You need a positive attitude and the willingness to learn. It also helps if you have the ability to look at the 'big picture' and not just at what's in front of you. This helps with problem solving.

What hours do you work?

I work a rotating shift pattern. One week I work 6am until 2pm, then the next week I work 2pm until 10pm.

What do you like best about your being a trainee engineer?

It never gets boring or repetitive. There's always something new to learn or do. There's also a real sense of achievement once I've completed a project or job successfully.

Another good part is the opportunity to travel abroad to places like Germany and Italy, where some of our packaging machinery is manufactured.

Jack's route to his job as a trainee engineer

  • GCSEs.
  • Started work as an apprentice.
  • NVQ Level 2 in Engineering Production (Machining).
  • NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Engineering Maintenance.
  • City & Guilds 232 in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
  • Studying for BTEC National Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Jack's trainee engineer tips

  • Concentrate on your maths and science.
  • Communication skills are equally important for working within a team.
  • Be willing to learn – there's a lot to take in.
  • Don't be frightened of getting things wrong, because you learn more from your mistakes.

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Trainee engineer salary

  • New entrants start at around £12,000 a year.
  • Experienced engineering maintenance technicians can earn around £20,000 a year.
  • Senior technicians can earn up to £30,000 or more.

Becoming a trainee engineer

  • Entry is possible through an Apprenticeship. Different levels of Apprenticeship are available. Some have no formal entry qualifications; others may require GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) including maths, English and science or technology, or alternative qualifications.
  • It is also possible for school leavers to take a full-time course leading to a BTEC national diploma or an SQA group award in engineering.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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