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#WeAreWestinghouse: National Apprenticeship Week 2019

The week of March 4-8, 2019 is the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week in the United Kingdom.

It is a week that highlights the benefits of apprenticeships to individuals, employers and the economy. At Westinghouse in Springfields, our Apprenticeship Training Program has a storied history spanning nearly 70 years.

To celebrate the vital role our Training Program plays in developing our workforce, we’ve invited three of our apprentices to share their experience in their own words.

Stuart Lamb

I started my apprenticeship at 16 straight after leaving school. As I was growing up, I took a lot of interest in engineering and knew that I wanted to do something practical. I thought that taking an apprenticeship would be the best way to achieve my goals and get the kind of job that I wanted because it is the only way to learn real skills and gain genuine experience of the work.

Stuart Lamb accepting his Apprentice of the Year Award
Stuart Lamb accepting his Apprentice of the Year Award

In the first year of my apprenticeship I was based in the training centre; the first six months were all about developing the basic skills and understanding that are required for engineering. In that time, I did a course in hand fitting, lathe turning, milling machining, drill grinding, electrical basics and basic electronics. Over the next six months I trained to be a fitter, learning more specific aspects of engineering.

After I had finished my time in the training centre, I began my placements on site where I did a variety of different jobs to write reports about, which went towards my National Vocational Qualification.

It was a big achievement to be chosen as the Apprentice of the Year, but I am most proud of the progress I have made to develop the skills and knowledge I now use in my everyday job as a fitter.

My plans for the future are to further develop my fitting skills and knowledge to become a better craftsman, as I enjoy the practical nature of my job and want to be much better at it.

Hassan Rashid

I studied biology, chemistry and physics at Blackburn College Sixth Form. When I finished my course, I decided to defer going to University in order to study software engineering by taking a gap year to gain work experience in the IT sector.

I spent the year in BT’s Technical Department where I worked with engineers and helped customers with issues ranging from billing to tech support. I really enjoyed learning on the job and getting work experience, but also wanted the benefit of going to university and applying what I learned simultaneously in the real world.

When the opportunity came to get a degree apprenticeship at Springfields, to say I was interested was an understatement. The apprenticeship offered me a chance to gain valuable skills in software design, programming and project management all while gaining valuable work experience, a fully paid for university degree, a competitive salary and good benefits.

Since starting in August, I have been working at my placement at the Springfield’s Application Support department. On Thursdays, I spend the day at the University of Central Lancashire learning about topics such as networking, web development and product design. There’s been a good balance between theory and practical work. I’ve been given a project this semester in which I’ll be completing a system upgrade at Springfields and will be documenting my journey as I progress through it.

This will be very interesting and so far has been quite challenging however there’s a lot of support at Springfields and UCLAN as everyone is really friendly and approachable

Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes presented the Westinghouse award at the Blackpool Education Awards on behalf of the company.
Tom Hughes presented the Westinghouse award at the Blackpool Education Awards on behalf of the company.

I studied Business, Math and Accountancy A levels at Cardinal Newman College in Preston. Upon successful completion, I decided to apply for the business degree apprenticeship course at Springfields when I was 18.

After an interview and an assessment day, I was ecstatic when I found out that I had managed to get the role as a business apprentice! The apprenticeship has many benefits including:

  • Earning a great salary
  • Being able to interact with top executives
  • Being able to expand my network of professional contacts
  • Having a place on the chartered management degree apprenticeship course fully paid for at the University of Central Lancashire
  • Having the opportunity to travel to many industry events as a representative of the company

I am currently working in the communications department in my first placement on site and have loved every minute. I have not only increased my knowledge of how a business runs across all functions, but also gained personal development in improving my confidence.

In the future, I hope to complete my degree at the University of Central Lancashire and gain chartered management status while progressing in Westinghouse. I know this will be a challenge, but with the friendly workplace environment at Springfields and university, I know that I am in the best possible position to achieving my goals.