Shantelle Thorpe

Apprentice at Triumph

Meet Shantelle. Shantelle joined Triump as an apprentice in 2017 from the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering course.

Age:

19

School:

St Ninian’s High School

Background

I hadn’t had much involvement with engineering before I came to the AMTC centre and set-out on the apprenticeship path, especially not on this level, as I was previously interested in a career in mechanics during school. Engineering seemed to offer a really broad career path though, so whilst I was unsure of what I wanted to do, I decided to make the change and pursue this field.

With engineering and mechanics on my mind during school – I chose to study System and Control (electronics) during GCSEs; this is a hands-on subject using equipment and electronics, and prepared me well for similar application and processes in engineering. I also took drama and history at GCSE, which I enjoyed.

Training at college

It was interesting to see the variety of people on the course! It’s open to all ages and genders – there are people ranging from my age to in their 40s studying.

I studied Level 3 National Certificate (Craft) at the college. This meant that our week was based around practical work, with a day of theory. The 2 years at college full-time was around creating pieces; being given concepts to make and assessment based assignments. The whole training experience is 3 or 4 years in total, depending on the route you take. I’m now working full-time at Triumph with a day release each week at the college to continue studying alongside the apprenticeship.

It’s good that the college offers L2 (Craft) & L3 (National Certificate) options, helping people of different levels into the field. This is because they understand that not everyone is academic but can be very capable, so can support training from L2 to begin with before they move up. Although this path takes slightly longer, you still come out with the same qualification ultimately and I would encourage anyone interested in the field to consider training through either of the routes offered.

How are you finding the apprenticeship course?

The engineering course is great; the course tutors help to provide useful guidance on opportunities beyond the course to help you get the most out of what we were learning. One example is John Cashin the Assistant Programme Manager for the engineering course at UCM. John supported us to find our summer placements, which was when I made the good connection with Triumph for when it came to interviewing for apprenticeships, and helped me secure my apprenticeship placement after the summer experience.

The support offered throughout has been great so far – the college tutors do their best to ensure you are prepared to leave for work by the end of the full-time course. Towards the end of the course they helped to guide us on finding the jobs we now have, running through practice interviews and writing our CVs. The college also brought the companies to meet us all and build the relationships needed to create these apprenticeship opportunities. This was great compared to a lot of other courses which, once you’re finished, you are on your own to find a job afterwards. It’s great to know a high percentage of us will find jobs straight after the full-time course is finished.

Insight into Apprenticeship training

Triumph have been great to support me throughout the apprenticeship. I get along with everyone here very well and I enjoy being able to get stuck into jobs – there’s a lot of trust placed on you here allowing you to work on your tasks. The course is great as it prepares us to a level that we can step into our roles and need very little assistance before we can work independently. I love being able to show them my progress and impress my teams with the work I’ve been completing!

Highlights of the course?

The best thing so far was getting my job here at Triumph! It was such a positive way to finish the full-time course and a real achievement to make it to this point.

Addressing the stigma of women (or lack of) in the field – when it comes to advertising the opportunity to take up a career in engineering to girls, there’s no frills that need to be added. It’s just about being honest about what it means and understand what engineering involves. There are girls that do this job, and well! It’s not just a career for men. Engineering offers so many broader options, which people aren’t always aware of. It’s not just about heavy machinery (however I actually really enjoy that aspect of work!), there’s also inspection, paintwork, refining and more processes involved in the whole manufacturing industry. I really enjoy what I do and would recommend looking into it as a prospective career.

Advice

Keep at it when the work is difficult, and stand out. By getting to know the companies and interacting with them throughout the course, you can create a good rapport with your potential employers. If you impress them from the start they’ll snap you up when it comes to applying for apprenticeships!

Engineering can be a very open and broad path to follow – there are opportunities to work all over the world in the field, especially if you consider specialising. However I really enjoy working at Triumph so I’m planning on being here for a while!

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