Mechanical Maintenance Engineer

Jakob Bartlett

Mechanical Engineering

Higher Level Apprenticeship

Jakob Bartlett, Mechanical Maintenance Engineer, Howden

My name is Jakob Bartlett and I work at the main manufacturing site in Howden as a mechanical engineer. My role consist of Condition Based Monitoring (CBM). continuous improvement, maintenance and breakdown response.

What made you choose an Engineering Apprenticeship?

Throughout being at school, although performing well in all subjects and aspects, I always knew a practical hands-on job was the way forward for me. I enjoyed working with my hands and excelled in this sphere, and knew academic studies weren’t for me. My father was an electrical engineer so the fascination for building, fixing, designing, and making things grew from a young age. Furthermore, I enjoyed working around challenges and coming up with solutions, hence when looking at what career path engineering hugely appealed to me.

Why Howdens?

Once securing my spot and place at HETA (Humberside Engineering Training association) I was invited to the company open day. I spoke to several companies about the job roles they were advertising for, and learned about who the companies were in respect to their culture, support, training and opportunities. Howdens was one of the companies I was very interested in. I applied and sent my CV and I was invited to an assessment day and interview. From this I saw the large support network the apprenticeship programme received; As there are so many employees who have been through the apprenticeship there is a wealth of knowledge to help and support you. Additionally, the vast variety of machinery and technology is immensely impressive, allowing candidates to gain training and knowledge on all aspects of engineering. It was also evident that there are chances available to progress or specialise within the company.

Tell us about your apprenticeship and the support you received.

The apprenticeship was 4 years long. My first year was full time college based, learning my trade, and using machines and tools, with one day a week as a dedicated “tech” day to complete a Level 3 Health and Safety course and a BTEC Level 3 in Engineering. Whilst in college I received support from my manager at Howdens, Apprentices in the year above me and a college mentor. When starting on site there are rotations across the different factories every 3 to 6 months, so everyone can see and experience working in different places, with different people, and on different machines. In each factory there was an assigned mentor for each apprentice to offer knowledge and support, and help you develop skills that you still hadn’t learned. I received support from all various employees across the several departments within the factory, a large amount of the work force was on the apprenticeship scheme when they were younger so had experienced what I was going through allowing them to give me valuable guidance. By the end of my third year I qualified by completing my Level 3 Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician Apprenticeship, however I then progressed onto the HNC in Engineering which is the final element of the Howdens Engineering Apprenticeship. Jakub (L) and his brother Joe, who has also joined the Howdens Apprenticeship scheme

What do you love most about your job?

I’ve now been with Howdens for 4 and ½ years after completing my apprenticeship in July 2023. As I moved into my last year of the apprenticeship I started diversifying into a slightly new role as well as continuing as a mechanical maintenance engineer, the role I have moved into involves continuous improvement, CBM, and project engineering. I love this new role as it is exciting, interesting and allows me to work with a variety of new technologies and be the first one to implement them, and everyday is different. There is continual training provided which is brilliant and the people that work at Howdens are all fun to be around.

What do you do in your spare time?

Outside of work my passion is Showjumping, I have show jumped for several years and have a small private Yard with a close friend where we buy, sell, produce and compete. Over these past few years whilst I’ve been at Howdens this passion has grown more and more serious and progressing immensely. I regularly travel up and down the country competing and training, at national and international level at the best shows the country has to offer. To aid support this Howdens has accordingly let me stay on the shift that best suits me (Days) which is 5 days (8 hours), this allows me to go do the horses for a couple of hours before work and after, whilst allowing me to still have my weekend free. I tried working on the site engineering shift pattern for 3 months however it didn’t work well for me, so Howdens catered to giving me a days-based role. A huge benefit I have at the moment is flexi time, this means if I work extra hours, I can take more time off so I have more days holiday available for shows.

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