Apprentice Mechanical Maintenance Engineer

Beth Ashworth

Mechanical Engineering

Higher Level Apprenticeship

Beth Ashworth, Mechanical Maintenance Engineer, Runcorn

My name is Beth Ashworth from Liverpool, I am 25 years old and work at the Howdens Runcorn factory as a Mechanical maintenance engineer.

What made you choose an Engineering Apprenticeship?

I originally attended 6th form where the teachers were trying to force me down a university route, I knew this wasn’t for me as I never enjoyed academic studies. I investigated forms of apprenticeship, and I found many within the engineering sector. I had only done wood tech in school so applied to a local college for a year to complete my NVQ level 2 in engineering. Within this year of college, I found I enjoyed working with my hands and completing problem solving techniques to achieve targets, I then knew I wanted to apply to an engineering apprenticeship. 

Why Howdens?

Whilst in college I met some of the apprenticeships from various companies, some of the apprentices worked in Howdens. They shared their experiences, and they had positive feedback about the apprenticeship scheme and the people within the company. I had experienced some other companies through work experience/ taster days where I didn’t feel welcomed as quickly as I did during my first interview with Howdens

Tell us about your apprenticeship and the support you received.

The apprenticeship was 4 years long, and the first year was 5 days a week between two colleges. I would attend Cronton college for two days to complete a Level 3 BTEC in Engineering and I would attend Riverside college 3 days a week, this was to achieve the NVQ Level 2. As I already had this qualification I focussed on increasing the units completed within the NVQ, which consisted of Welding, Electrical work and mechanical work.

Whilst in college I received support from my manager at Howdens, Apprentices in the year above me and a college mentor.

On my first day on site at Runcorn I was given a mentor who was a continuous improvement mechanical engineer with over 30 years’ experience. He helped me if I had any issues with work, college work or anything else I need to discuss. I also received support from all various employees across the several departments within the factory. A large amount of the work force had been through the apprenticeship scheme when they were younger so had experienced what I was going through, which allowed them to give me valuable guidance. Working alongside various age groups from 16 to 74 allowed me to gain a large amount of experience and make friends with a range of different characters. 

What do you love most about your job?

The part I love most about my role as a maintenance engineer is everyday is different to the last. Each day when I enter work I don’t know what issue will occur allowing me to regularly use problem solving skills and learn more everyday, with ongoing training being provided by Howdens. I also really enjoy the group of people I work with; they are always eager to help if I am struggling and they make the shifts enjoyable with their humour and personalities. 

What do you do in your spare time?

I currently work a 4 on 4 off shift pattern; this consists of two 12-hour days two 12-hour nights then 4 days off. I have recently begun solo travelling on my days off. I have been to places such as Dubai, Iceland, all the Scandinavian countries, Portugal and I have many more booked. I can find cheap flights, hotels or hostels due to the timing of my days off which allow me to see a large number of countries. Before completing the apprenticeship and getting my job with Howdens I wouldn’t have been able to afford the travelling, and I also wouldn’t have had the confidence to travel abroad by myself. When I am not travelling, I will visit family members and friends and find events or activities to make as many memories as possible. 

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