A day in the life of… an engineering apprentice

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Apprenticeships vary, like the individuals undertaking them. So, we thought it was important to gain a wide range of feedback.

We spoke to some of Direct Air’s current engineering apprentices’ about their personal experiences!

Meet Reece

Reece joined Direct Air in the summer of 2018, where he gained his EAL level 2 at college. He’s now 20 years old and is currently a BTEC level 3 engineering apprentice, working towards his NVQ.

What do you do day-to-day? And where do your biggest responsibilities lie?

An average day will consist of arriving to work, ready to set off to my first job at 7:30am. I know my scheduled jobs for the day, by looking at the timetable emailed to me the previous evening by our Service Co-ordinator. So, my daily job roles differ from day to day, depending on business needs and requirements. For example, one day I could be on a pipework job and the next I could be servicing an air compressor. These can include installations, alterations, fault finding, or modifications the machines. These tasks are very important to get right, as I am working with sophisticated (and very expensive!) equipment. Also, the customer is relying on me to deliver a quality job – that’s a huge responsibility! My day will also include completing some college work; but I will usually do this when I’m at college or home, as that’s what works best for me.

As my day comes to an end, I help the engineer that I’m working alongside to clear up. If I’ve been working on a site where we’ve done a big job, I must clean down any effected equipment or surrounding areas in the plant room. Ensuring the customers site is left spotless is crucial! Or sometimes I do work in Direct Air’s own workshop. In this situation, I return any tools to their correct place and leave the area so that it’s safe and accessible for others.

Which daily tasks do you enjoy the most? Are there any that you don’t enjoy as much?

I love all aspects of my job, as they are challenging yet rewarding once I’ve completed them. I look forward to getting out on the road and going to different work sites. Working at different locations helps me to learn and develop new skills from other engineers, as well as practice what I have already learnt.

A task such as cleaning up an oil water separator that has overflown is a very dirty job to complete. Yet, it is vital that we get it done, so our customers are happy. Although this job isn’t the cleanest to do, I know it’s important for the expansion of my development. Revisiting this job has taught me how to deal with this specific issue and I feel proud to have accomplished that.

Meet Jack

Jack is 21 and is also an engineering apprentice at Direct Air. Throughout his time at the company, he has achieved a range of qualifications. Some include level 2 and 3 in electrical and mechanical maintenance, along with level 3 NVQ practical skills.

What do you do day-to-day? And what tasks mean you must be trusted?

Similarly, to Reece, my routine is never set! I could be carrying out a standard service on Monday, then fault finding on a different compressor on the other side of the country by the Wednesday! Through the week, a schedule is made with jobs that are booked in and I can easily get all my parts ready for the week in my van. Having my own van is a huge responsibility because I’m being trusted to look after the vehicle and not go off track when I’m out doing jobs alone.

Despite the weekly schedule provided, there are occasions where jobs don’t pan out as planned. This can be due to various reasons, from either the customers end or our own accord. In this instance, I will receive a call from the service team to inform me of the changes. Working in a role where this can happen at any time, means I must stay alert and it definitely keeps things interesting!

With the many service contracts that Direct Air maintain, it enables me and the other engineers to work at very high-profile customer sites. Aerospace company sites are fascinating to work at and national sites such as Royal Mail, give us the opportunity to travel up and down the country.

After completing a job, I must fill out a job sheet about the customer and how the job went. This is really important because it lets everyone in the offices know where we’re at with each customer. As well as preventing confusion, these sheets provide me with the opportunity to recommend any further work for the customer. I end my day by ensuring all of my job sheets for the day have been correctly filled out - accuracy is essential!

Which daily tasks do you enjoy the most? Are there any that you don’t enjoy as much?

The main reason I love my job is the variety that comes with the role, how day to day can be so different. This is important for me because being active keeps my mind engaged, meaning I’m constantly eager for more work. Having the opportunity to see so much of the country, whilst travelling to different sites is also a favourite aspect of mine.

Of course, the job comes with aspects that aren’t as enjoyable - any job will! Cleaning tasks aren’t the most fun for me, but it’s part of the role and one reason why we provide such a high standard service. Tasks like this allow us to show our professionalism.


See more National Apprenticeship week blogs! https://www.directair.co.uk/news/after-apprenticeship-achievements/ 

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