Electronic and Electrical Engineering Apprentice Sam Howells
Sam Howells finished his apprenticeship in electronic and electrical engineering last August… and now works in TRL’s sales team! “I often describe myself as a failed engineer, but in fact I’m the perfect example of just how flexible the apprenticeship programme can be,” says Sam, who joined the scheme after completing a year of A Levels at school in nearby Gloucester. “In previous years, you’d start an apprenticeship in engineering, stay there throughout the course, and end up being offered a job in that discipline. I started my apprenticeship in engineering and became the first person ever to finish up in sales!”
Sam always knew an apprenticeship was the right career path for him. “I wasn’t interested in going to university – I wanted to develop new skills while getting paid to learn. “In the first year of the apprenticeship you’re at college five days a week – TRL’s engineering apprenticeship is offered in partnership with Gloucester Engineering Training (GET). You spend academic holidays working at TRL, which breaks you in gently to the world of work, then spend year’s two to four working within the business.” Apprentices begin an additional HNC qualification during their third year, which Sam did on day release at Worcester College.
But the great thing about the apprenticeship scheme is that you’re guaranteed more than a qualification and a valuable new set of skills at the end of it – you’re also guaranteed a job. TRL’s Learning and Development Manager, Phil Crookes, explains: “Our apprenticeship schemes offer talented students a great springboard into the world of work. They give candidates the chance to hit the ground running, gaining relevant experience and having the chance to become part of a team. Most students end up working in the department in which they spent their placement, but we always do our best to accommodate them elsewhere in the business if, like Sam, they want a new challenge.”
Sam enjoyed the social aspects of his apprenticeship as well as the learning: “You tend to become really close with the other people on your course because you’re all going through the same experience,” he says. “Five of us started in my year – the intake usually varies between three and six. Even though I ended up in a different department to the one I started in, TRL has proved to be a great choice for my career.”More Experiences