Michael has been an apprentice at Palintest since 2015. In his blog he talks about moving straight from school to Palintest, and where he hopes to go from here.

As an apprentice Maintenance Engineer it is my job to ensure the machines are running both efficiently and to the highest standard. This involves carrying out both preventive and corrective maintenance, keeping the machines turning, and ensuring that products can be shipped out to our customers.

For me it was a natural transition to leave school and pursue an apprenticeship. I always had a keen interest in engineering and felt that I wanted to get stuck in and involved with hands on learning. Before applying to Palintest I carried out a wide range of research and decided that a role in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering would be preferred.

I applied to a training centre TDR who are a government backed company who help to set up apprenticeships at various companies across the North East. It was through TDR that I found Palintest and after my first interview here I sensed that it was the right place for me. I was taken immediately by their sense of direction and I was keen to be part of a growing business.

Palintest and TDR have been very good at committing to a training program for me. In my first year I completed my PEO Level 3 and my Level 2 BTEC in Manufacturing Engineering. Now in my second year I am completing my BTEC Level 3. I hope to complete my HNC next year, and Palintest have already discussed options for me to go on a variety of different training courses for the new machines entering the production area.

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Initially I hope to become a qualified and established Maintenance Engineer, but my long term ambition is to move into a management role when I have gained more knowledge and experience. Up to now I feel I’ve had quite a few major achievements during my apprenticeship. In my first year I have achieved four Distinctions at college, installed a ring main of sockets in the packing area, changed all of the lights in the Workshop to LED lights and ran a project for improving the Instrument Service and Repair Area.

When I look back over my achievements it brings home how much I have learnt in so many different areas. The variation in my job keeps it interesting and we are always facing new problems. I enjoy the ongoing challenges and it is great for building up my knowledge. I particularly like looking at the root-cause analysis of machine breakdowns: what is wrong with the machine, how to fix it and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. By being pro-active and prioritising through production management, I ensure that the machines are producing at the right time and to the right quality.

Don’t be disillusioned into thinking that an apprenticeship is an easy route, my job can be particularly challenging when a number of problems arise at once. You have to have the right attitude to succeed but it can be extremely rewarding. I would strongly recommend anyone who is unsure about their career path to go down the apprenticeship route, there is no better way to gain practical experience whilst completing your education.

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