From the 4 - 8 March, it’s National Apprenticeship Week! So, we thought we’d ask a couple of budding engineers why they became apprentices. More than that, we wanted to know if they had any regrets…
Did you know what you wanted to do with the rest of your life when you were in Year 9? Neither did Lexxi Evans!
So she had a chat with her parents. Her dad said he’d always wanted to be an architect but things hadn’t worked out. This planted a seed in her mind.
It’s so satisfying to bring an architect’s drawings to life in the real world – and I did it pretty much independently in my first year as an apprentice!
Making your mind up
“I’ve always loved art – and buildings too,” Lexxi says. “I’ve been interested in how they’re made since I was small. Being an architect made a lot of sense.
“I was lucky enough to get work experience at an architectual firm when I was at school. But it turned out it wasn’t the architect stuff that really interested me. It was engineering.
“I was introduced to computer-aided design (CAD) software – what engineers use to make designs and models. I got the hang of the basics in a couple of days. It was great to use my artistic skills to solve problems.
“That was it – I knew what I wanted to do! I chose the most relevant GCSEs, including art and computer science. But after my exams I couldn’t find the right engineering courses at colleges.”
The best way to learn
“I went to a careers fair and a lovely lady found me a two-year digital design engineering apprenticeship through CADCOE (Construction and Design Centre of Excellence) and TDS, a firm specialising in modelling for the construction industry. It was perfect for me.
“It’s been amazing to train while on the job. I’m doing the same kind of work as everyone in the office – we get to try everything. It’s a close team and everyone’s learning from each other. I love that there’s always more to find out!
“They even let me model a whole project on my own – a house made with a light, steel frame. It’s so satisfying to bring an architect’s drawings to life in the real world – and I did it pretty much independently in my first year as an apprentice!
“I’ve discovered I have a natural aptitude and a very strong passion for this line of work. I’ve loved every minute of my apprenticeship and I’m going to keep on loving it.”
Work on famous buildings
Lexxi’s fellow apprentice at TDS, Adam Rowley, also found that CAD engineering was a great outlet for his artistic abilities.
“I do drawings for my family – portraits for birthdays and so on. Drawing on a computer is different, but you still get to use that creativity. It’s something I really enjoy,” Adam says.
“It’s always interesting learning while working because there’s so much variety. And so many opportunities!
“I got to work on the design for No.1 Court at Wimbledon. Having a part to play on iconic buildings is something I really aspire to.
“The apprenticeship has already done a lot for me, given me a sense of maturity and responsibility. Some friends who stayed on at school are now wishing they’d done an apprenticeship instead!”
There’s so much variety and so many opportunities! I got to work on the No.1 Court at Wimbledon.
Go for it!
The two apprentices clearly have no regrets, but what advice do they have for people thinking about applying?
“Go for it!” Adam says. “Don’t hold back, because the opportunity may never come again and it could take you on a great new path in life.”
Lexxi agrees. “Take the leap and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. ‘Exceed your expectations’ is a phrase that keeps me going.
“What I’m achieving on my apprenticeship definitely continues to exceed my expectations!”