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Meet the Apprentices

Apprentices with David Cameron
Find out what life is like for some our of first year apprentices - besides meeting the Prime Minister.

General Fitting

Adrian Thomas apprentice

Adrian Thomas - 1st year craft apprentice

I have spent 6 weeks on this section and I have enjoyed every minute of it. General fitting gives you the opportunity to learn and build on various hand skills, work with a variety of tools and work to time scales.

When arriving on this section you are given your own work bench, tool box and space to work with. You are then responsible for your own tools, the cleanliness of your work space and the health and safety of your area. You are given drawings to work from and step by step instruction on how to complete each task by the best and most supportive instructors. The first three weeks on this section you perform assessment pieces but not grasping the basic hand skills i.e. filling, drilling, sawing, tapping etc.

On the second 3 weeks you build a tool box, this give you the chance to work with both metric and imperial which is a great opportunity as it tests your concentration levels too. On completion of the tool box you are able to keep it.

The material you work with on this section is Steel - (both block and sheet) in some situations you can be working to within a tolerance of +/- 0.1mm.

 Every skill I have learnt is transferrable and I will use them for the rest of my career.


Aircraft fitting

Steven Cooke - 1st year Technical Apprentice

Stephen Cook apprentice

Aircraft fitting involves getting hand on with aircraft aluminium creating parts similar to those used on military jets, there are lots of techniques used which will challenge you, to improve your hands on skills. With every piece you do within this section you will file two datum’s, this is a two sides which are perfectly straight and at a 90 degree angle , this is the basis for every piece as it gives two sides where accurate measurements can be made.

Then the piece needs to be cut or filed to size the cutting can be done in methods such as guillotining or hack sawing , then the piece may need a range of other operations doing to it to make it fit for use such as, riveting, counter boring and many other processes.

During the apprenticeship this section has been very interesting and pushed us to advance our skills beyond our current level, we have had to work within tight tolerances, within 0.5 of a millimetre, it has drastically improved my hand skills and also skills such as patience and commitment as a lot of time has to be put in to ensure a worthwhile product at the end of the week or session.

In terms of usefulness in the business the aircraft fitting section gets apprentices ready for fitting or fabrication jobs, where you will be working hands on with the aircraft or aircraft parts, this could be fixing pieces together or repairing broken pieces so they can be reused and not scrapped which could save the business thousands of pounds.


CAD & Machining

Sam Thurston apprentice

Sam Thurston - 1st year Technical Apprentice

During my 6 weeks in this section I experienced 4 different aspects of engineering that I really enjoyed. For the first 3 weeks we worked with a CAD system to complete various tasks set for our PEO units. The fourth week was aircraft experience in which we worked on an aircraft and was given a brief tour of what the aircraft does.

Finally in the last two weeks we experienced milling and turning which entailed working with the machines and creating a piece from a drawing such as a plumb bob and a pair of parallels. These 6 weeks only gave us a brief insight into these four subjects.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time on these sections because I was learning something new every day. Although I was slightly apprehensive about working with the machines and the aircraft as was all the other apprentices because I didn't know anything about machining we were taught thoroughly and give brilliant instruction on what to do and how the machines work. I feel I have learnt new skills in all these sections and I will take all these on with me throughout my apprenticeship and thought my career.



Samantha Wells apprentice

Samantha Wells - 1st year Technical Apprentice

On starting electronics, we are immediately informed of all the safety rules within the workshop – as you can imagine, there are quite a few!

Electronics involves a lot of soldering, so our first job is to get used to the soldering iron. We begin with a few simple shapes, a triangle, a cube and then move on to building aeroplanes – some just an outline, others elaborate and make it a piece of art.

Once wave tackled soldering, we then move on to more technical circuits, using copper strip board. We learn about resistors, capacitors, transistors and check our circuits using a range of equipment.

One of the most practised skills we learn on electronics is fault finding. More often than not, when you plug the power supply onto your circuit, that LED refuses to light up, or the buzzer decides to remain silent and then the next hour is spent figuring out what went wrong! It takes patience, but there is no better feeling than seeing your circuit eventually work!

Electronics test your technical skill, your electrical knowledge and your patience, but it’s definitely worth it when you have a workshop full of deafening buzzers!