Apprenticeship to Bachelors and Masters degrees

Tristan Wolf has been fascinated by technology since he was a small boy and even took on two internships as a teenager. He was keen to get into the workplace straight from school and chose to start his career with an Electronics Technician apprenticeship at Smiths Detection in Wiesbaden, Germany.

“At the very first interview I was so impressed with the approach and the technology, I knew I wanted to be part of Smiths Detection. The three and a half year apprenticeship gave me the perfect opportunity to combine hands-on experience with study – my scheduled alternated between two weeks working and one week at a vocational college.”

The apprenticeship covered three key areas: production, computer technology, and technical documentation. Once qualified, Electronic Technicians have keys roles in production; and also servicing and maintaining equipment in the field.

“I was shown how to programme and build devices but in addition to the practical tasks, I learnt to communicate, exchange information with colleagues and generally about how the working environment operates. I was given the chance take on responsibility, work on my own and at the same time earn some money!”

Design ambitions

When Tristan started his apprenticeship, he quickly realised he was particularly fascinated by automation. Rather than building the equipment as a Technician, he had ambitions to design and improve devices. So, his next step was ‘Student Worker’ – an opportunity to study at University for a Bachelor of Engineering degree and also continue working part-time at Smiths Detection.

“Now I am at the University of Applied Science, I spend one or two days per week working and the rest studying. Smiths Detection has given me my own, non-time critical project working on advances to a camera system which automatically detects whether or not the trays used on airport passenger checkpoint conveyors are empty.”

When Tristan graduates in early 2024, he will move on to a Masters in Engineering to learn more about management and leadership.

Fully supported

Smiths Detection offers a range of different early career programmes and fully supports young talent whichever route they choose. Tristan has always found his colleagues and line managers helpful and encouraging.

“From the very beginning, I have felt welcome and appreciated. There is always someone ready to help when needed and I love working as part of a team. At the same time, I am also grateful for the chance to work independently. My supervisor often reminds me that study is my priority but is also very happy to have me working on projects. Overall, the workplace culture is excellent.”

Following his Masters degree, Tristan plans to stay on at Smiths Detection and build a career. His ultimate dream is to be recognised as an automation specialist and hold a senior leadership role in this field.

 Tristan’s Advice

“If anyone is thinking of following a similar path at Smiths Detection, I would definitely say, just do it! I’ve learn more than you can imagine about the role, working with others, the company and social skills. It’s hard work but worth every minute. My biggest challenge: learning how to manage my time, particularly between work and study. My most rewarding moment: at the end of my apprenticeship, my college chose me as ‘best in the class’.” I was so happy to receive this accolade and know I couldn’t have done any of it without the help and support I received from Smiths Detection.”