Apprentice Mechanical Engineer Technician at Costain

Start Date:
Central London & City
Programme Type:
Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5)
£19,000 annually
Review Date:
May 2018

Review Score

7.8 /10

1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


Known as an apprentice mechanical engineering technician working in the (Crossrail) C610 M&E team, my role consists of a 50/50 balance between office based work and site based work; namely site engineering; Planning, Implementing and Monitoring. Currently assisting in the Permanent Tunnel Evacuation Walkway package. I am responsible for being a charge-hand which enables me to complete site tasks by asking permission to access the running tunnel work site and work safely in active worksites via radio. Daily, I report to my line manager and they advise me on things that need to be done. This can be setting-out brackets or posts, surveying areas prior to install, creating various paperwork/documents to support the install e.g. Risk-Assessment-Method-statements, surveying areas that have been installed which need to be signed off and Monitoring progress and/or issues with install. I regularly sit in planning, design and progress meetings to ensure I keep up with the package. This results in working alongside a sub-contractor whom are responsible for the work itself.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


Throughout the time I have been working in this role/team, I frequently learn from people in everyday tasks but also undertake internal and external training courses. For example: Tunnel/track safety courses, SMSTS qualification, first aid at work certificate, RAMS training, equipment training, compulsory safety training, chargehand training.

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


The most enjoyable parts of the job as an apprentice is the level of exposure to many aspects of the construction industry that I wouldn't have ever known anything about previous. And also the pride in knowing that I am contributing to a huge project that in the future a transport network which will be used by thousands of Londoners. I am excited to see it complete. My team is great because it's diverse but also young, energetic and sociable. I didn't have any expectations.

4. How valued do you feel by Costain?


I receive appreciation from my manager, we get on well, I also get support from other costain colleagues but that's as far recognition goes. I am meant to have support from a apprenticeship manager to assist with issues, job progression and transitions etc. but haven't heard from them in a while. I do however receive great feedback from my college whom monitor my progress and have a thorough interest in my apprenticeship.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


The structure of the programme is good, pretty self explanatory; When you arrive you get inducted, get assigned a mentor and line manager and attend college for one day a week until I qualify. I understand the procedures within the company. We have occasional performance reviews, training courses where applicable, update organisation charts. The only disappointment is the organisation of the college I attend, they are struggling with resources and planning.

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


I am disappointed with the attitude and organisation of the college I attend, they are struggling with resources and planning. At the beginning of this year for example, we were working to the wrong modules so had to start again from the beginning, about 2 months wasted. There is a lack of useful lecturers and I struggle to complete the work required without having to teach myself a lot of the knowledge. I heavily rely on asking peers for help and advice. Lastly, they seem to me to put more resources and effort into lower level classes and the very high level classes which results in the bare minimum for average level 3/4 classes like mine.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


My manager is great, an ideal person to look up to. HR is great, cant fault it; if you have an issue with anything, they help straight away.

7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


- The salary can currently sustain me for now, I appreciate I am only in training still and not officially qualified and therefor shouldn't be paid the rates of someone who is qualified. However, on the contrary, with the safety related skills and qualifications I hold (SMSTS, Chargehand) I feel there should be salary increases to balance the responsibility. As a positive, I currently live at home with my parents so do not have any pricy assets to pay out for and the paid travelcard is huge bonus, however if I did think about moving out, I would seriously struggle financially.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


Yes, there are loads of social and sporting opportunities to take part in.

9. Would you recommend Costain to a friend?


9b. Why?

They look after you, and you basically have a job for life hopefully.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Costain?

Say YES, whatever opportunities come your way. Don't second think. Come prepared for the interview, Don't be late for anything.

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