Thursday, March 8 2018

This week is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) 2018 – a time for employers and apprentices from across England to celebrate the success of an alternative route to a career path. To mark the occasion of NAW 2018, we talked to Salamander’s Research and Development apprentice, Lewis Wilkes.

20 year old Lewis lives in Whitburn in Sunderland and attends East Durham College, where he studies HNC mechanical engineering – the course equates to a first year BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering at University.

After years of school and attending classes, Lewis felt that he was ready for a change of scenery. He wanted to have a successful career in something he was interested in, but without enduring four more years in a classroom.

He decided to go down the apprenticeship route to experience more hands-on work, and learn the trade on the job. Lewis found the opportunity with Salamander through a company called Tyne North Training, which helps to identify relevant opportunities suitable for the candidate.

An average day in the life of a Salamander apprentice is always different. It depends which projects are running at the time. Lewis’s main role is to act as the ‘middle man’ between design and quality control. He also does a lot of testing, research and development on Salamander’s pumps – working to constantly improve them.

Since joining the team at Salamander, some of the biggest challenges for Lewis have been getting to grips with the instant increase in responsibility, pressure to learn on the job and growing up quickly – going straight from school into the work environment.

Despite the initial challenges, the responsibility of his role has been one of Lewis’ highlights at Salamander, along with seeing successful college results and becoming more qualified on the job and feeling his confidence grow.

Lewis has really impressed the team at Salamander and has been offered a full-time role with the company, as a liaison engineer, when he finishes his apprenticeship in June. He will potentially still be studying for one day a week at college to top up his qualification to a full BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering degree.

If you think the apprenticeship route is for you, Lewis recommends seeking more information from training providers or online on the National Apprenticeship website, to see how to best increase the chances of snapping up the apprenticeship that you dreamed of.

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