Inspiring the next generation of Engineers through apprenticeship

As part of the UK Apprenticeship Week , we wanted to speak with one of our team members who works closely with apprentices to find out what drives them. For over seven years, Iasonas Christou, Senior Manufacturing Engineer, based on our Hemel site, has worked closely with engineering apprentices to train, inspire and set them up for a successful career – on top of his day job! This is what he told us.

Investing in our Apprentices

“To give them a better idea of the roles in Engineering and help them figure out what they like, all our Apprentices start their programme with a rotation of several months in all areas such as manufacturing, quality, service, operations and technology. After the two-year rotation period, they enter a two-year fixed placement where they specialised into one area.

“During the whole duration of their programme, my role is to make sure they meet their work objectives but also that their college work is completed on time. I’m here for them, whatever their concerns may be.”

Tailored programmes

“We work with colleges to ensure the work programme we plan for Apprentices on site is aligned to their course requirements. I regularly meet with the Apprentices’ college tutors to ensure we’re all on the same page and review all the tasks they’ve been performing through our programme.”

“As their line Manager, I meet with my Apprentices weekly, on a one-to-one basis, to go through their task list, look at where we are with their work objectives, help them with project planning, agree on deadlines etc. Each apprentice has a tailored programme, adapted to their skills and interests. Because of COVID-19, we have had to re-arrange some elements of the programme while trying not to cause too much disruption to their learning.

“Through the programme, we also help build their confidence and soft skills to interact with our more senior Engineers and question the way we do things, which in turn, helps us improve! They bring a fresh perspective.”

Bridging the gap between generations of engineers

“There is a certain generational divide within our teams in some areas, with a group nearing retirement, and another mid-career. Bringing in Apprentices enables us to pass all the knowledge to a next generation of engineers that would otherwise be lost.”

“To me, it’s also about keeping the STEM disciplines alive. I always try to develop their skills and knowledge beyond and above their college programme. I like to introduce them to new technologies and programming platforms, that I believe will be beneficial for them in the long-term.”

“Ultimately, if we can support them in the early stage, guide them, mentor them, show them how things work, we can be sure to set them up for their career in Engineering.”

Thank you Iasonas for sharing your experience and for your continued commitment to inspiring engineers of the future.