Higher-level apprentice Henry Richards is one of a growing number choosing to earn a wage whilst studying for a university-level qualification. During his A Level studies, which he undertook at Eggbuckland Community College, Henry explained how he felt torn when it came to choosing his next steps.
Henry said: “I realised how vital a degree would be for my career progression, but I didn’t want to miss out on the practical aspects of engineering I love so much. An Apprenticeship seemed the ideal option as I could still study for a university-level qualification whilst working on my practical skills at the same time. I was a little unsure about which Apprenticeship to go for at first and even more unsure about which employer, but after learning about Plessey’s higher-level Apprenticeships, I researched the company and I felt excited by the prospect of joining one with such a longstanding reputation within the industry.”
Henry’s Apprenticeship is in electronic and electrical engineering and he said he is enjoying learning about the firm’s cutting-edge technology in a hands-on, practical way among a friendly and supportive team. Henry explained: “From day one I have worked closely with the rest of the team, all of whom wish to see me progress and have been incredibly helpful and supportive. I have been shadowing a principal engineer who has allowed me to take a very practical approach even at the most stressful and taxing of times.
“I joined not long after it was announced that Plessey would be working with Facebook to produce micro LEDs and I was extremely excited to be a part of this – I would have been foolish to not take this opportunity.”
As part of his Apprenticeship, Henry will attend City College once a week for lectures, where he will be able to develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical side of engineering. He said: “The College has a great reputation for engineering: the experience and specialist knowledge of the teaching staff is invaluable, and I am confident I will gain an integrated approach to working on micro LEDs. As a TEF gold-accredited institution, the College is held in high regard by employers due to the quality and uniformity in the teaching.”
Whilst acknowledging that Apprenticeships might not be the route for everyone, Henry said it seems to have been the right choice for him. “If you’re interested in engineering, you have several options, all of which have their own advantages, Henry said. “Whilst I chose an Apprenticeship, I know Plessey offers some great graduate schemes, too. There are so many opportunities to enter the world of engineering at any level. It is about matching your goals and passion with a route that will work for you.
“I’m really pleased to be working for a firm that has built its success on getting things done the right way, but one that also really values its people. I took these factors into consideration when deciding on my Apprenticeship and it has been great to have been so warmly welcomed into such a highly regarded local firm.”