Apprentice Blog: From Apprentice To Managing Director
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we are bringing you adi employee stories from former apprentices who have ‘risen to the top’ to learn more about how they got involved in engineering via the Apprenticeship route. In today’s blog, we speak to Ritchie Webb, Managing Director of adi Automotive Services division who began his career as an Electrical and Instrumentation Apprentice.
What apprenticeship did you do and how long did it take to complete?
I completed a four year Electrical and Instrumentation Engineering Apprenticeship at a Courtaulds Engineering Limited.
During your apprenticeship what kinds of projects did you support and what type of work did you undertake on a daily basis?
During my Apprenticeship I was involved in all sorts of different projects. Courtaulds dealt mostly with process plants so a lot of the work I did was based on Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Powder and, Material Handling.
I spent one year in an engineering training centre based off-site. I then moved around to different departments putting learning about the different engineering disciplines, I also spent three months at GEC in Stoke-On-Trent building and testing LV Panels. I was also selected by the Coventry Chamber of Commerce to take part in an apprentice exchange programme and I was given the opportunity to work in Kiel in North Germany for three months at a typewriter factory. I’d only studied Spanish at school so I had to enrol in a two week intensive German course to get up to speed quickly!
I didn’t have a set daily routine as my Apprenticeship Programme meant that I moved around the company every three months. This included Mechanical, Electrical, Facilities Management, Steel and Process Engineering. That was until the final year or so when I settled in to the electrical design department, there I was sizing cables and containment systems, working P&Ids, ILD’s and creating detailed design drawings.
Each apprentice spent the first two months in reprographics which gave you an insight into all of the different departments within Courtaulds, where they were, who worked in them and what they did. Back in my Apprenticeship days, things like 3D CAD Modelling were in their infancy, and I remember one of the months I got to work with the guy that hand built the 3D Models for customers using modelling kits. It was amazing to watch to him build it and place all the assembled vessels and pipes into the model – we weren’t allowed to touch any of it though!
What made you decide to do an Apprenticeship?
I wanted to earn some money and the Apprenticeship route just fitted what I wanted to do. My Uncle is an electrical engineer and had always seemed to enjoy his work so It looked like an interesting career to pursue. I was offered three Apprenticeships including one at Rolls-Royce, however, I turned it down because my Dad worked there and I was keen to do something different and off my own back, so I decided to accept the offer from Courtaulds instead!
How has completing an Apprenticeship benefitted you in your career so far?
My apprenticeship definitely gave me a good grounding and in depth understanding of processes, construction and manufacturing plants which has been invaluable as I have progressed in my career.
What is your role now after completing an Apprenticeship?
I’m currently the Managing Director of adi Automotive Services which specialises in the delivery of mechanical and electrical installations to the Automotive industry.
What advice would you give to youngsters looking into engineering apprenticeships?
My advice would be to have the right attitude and not to think that any task is beneath you. You are there to learn and some tasks that may be considered as more menial really help you understand what everyone else does and the processes that are involved. It’s only by doing those things that you understand what has to be done to get the job done.
For more information about adi Group apprenticeships and careers please visit www.adiltd.co.uk/careers.BACK TO ARTICLES