James Sewell – Higher Apprenticeship case study

James is currently undertaking his HNC Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering, with our local employer, Harlaxton Engineering. Here’s what he has to say.

While at school I enjoyed practical subjects that involved the creation of a product at the end of it which lead me to becoming interested in Engineering. This is due to being good at maths and having an interest in practical working. When looking into the work available in engineering I discovered that apprenticeships allowed for learning in the industry while working and getting paid.  

This led to me completing a BTEC level 3 qualification over two years at Grantham College, during which I took work experience at the company Harlaxton Engineering during May 2022 as part of my course, in which I was able to learn about the company and the operations, whilst also completing small pieces of work for the company. This allowed for a deeper understanding as to how the company operates and to work alongside people who were involved in the industry that I was interested in working in. 

From this work experience, I was able to take up work as an apprentice engineer in September 2022 on a BTEC level 4 HNC as an expansion of the previous work at Grantham College. I am studying this alongside work, allowing for me to broaden my knowledge of engineering whilst gaining real world experience of the workplace and getting paid. This requires a balance between both work and  education, some of which will require external time to that of the hours of employment due to the requirements of the education which require external research and work to be completed. However, this allows for me to achieve a higher qualification and gain valuable experience for future employment opportunities as it allows for a greater understanding of work and having a record of previous employment allowing for a broader potential in job opportunities. 

On the apprenticeship I have improved my knowledge and experience of engineering through practical experience of work, through welding, plasma cutting, as well as gaining experience doing turning on a lathe. On my apprenticeship I have also carried out a range of CAD based work, involving the production of accurate drawings of different components that require drawings for future repeated use as well as to use as references for the assembly of the pieces. This has then led to the manufacture of these components using the tools and machinery on the site to allow for independent working and improve confidence at completing work that is required. 

Apprenticeships are a great way to progress along your career path as it allows for you to gain both the knowledge around the subject or area of industry that you want to move in to while providing the education for the knowledge, this allows for you to be paid while you learn. This career path also allows for a higher education with no costs. These also ensure that you have a job at the end of the course as you will either have the opportunity to stay on in the company that you worked in for the duration of the apprenticeship, or have the knowledge and qualifications to apply for other jobs due to the experience. 

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