Meet The adi Pre-Apprentice Programme Mentors
It’s National Apprenticeship Week across the UK and we’re celebrating all things adi Group Apprentices and Pre-Apprentices.
In today’s hot seat, we are delighted to invite our pre-apprentice mentors, Garry Howell and Barry Whitehouse to get the lowdown on the adi Pre-Apprentice Programme.
Launched in September 2016, adi Group created the UK’s first engineering pre-apprenticeship scheme for 14 to 16 year olds, designed to revolutionise the future of STEM education in the UK and tackle the nationwide deficit in high-quality apprenticeships. Through the structured and accredited programme, the apprentices learn the practical, hands-on skills needed to carve a career in either mechanical or electrical engineering,
The scheme involves 12 secondary school students – male and female – attending adi Group’s Birmingham workshop for half a day each week. The two-year course, with a second cohort of 12 students joining in 2017, runs for 32 weeks for the first year followed by a further 26 weeks the following year. Running alongside their GCSE education, this course occupies 10% of the students’ overall curriculum time and is the ideal stepping stone to a full-time engineering apprenticeship.
Tell us more about your role as a mentors on the pre-apprentice programme
Garry: My role on the Pre-Apprentice Programme is to pass on the knowledge I’ve gained over the last 30 years to the next generation. I feel that it’s my duty to pass on my skills as a sheet metal worker/welder fabricator. I’m also very proud of the small part that I play within the adi Pre-Apprentice Programme.
Barry: My role is to hopefully guide youngsters into enjoying using their untapped skills and realising just what they can achieve.
How are the students progressing so far?
Barry: In general they are doing really well and seem to be enjoying the opportunity. Obviously their abilities vary, although they are all putting a lot of effort into the programme.
Garry: The students have come a long way over the past few weeks with each of then showing a significant improvement with all aspects of the skills needed to carry out the set tasks within the pre-apprentice programme resulting in them growing in confidence every week.
What does a typical afternoon look like for the Pre-Apprentices on the programme?
Barry: Choosing the correct tools they need for the task, with the aim being to install all the components and wire everything they will find in their own homes electrical system. They are currently wiring a lighting circuit.
Garry: A typical afternoon starts with a tool box type talk regarding PPE and working in a very busy workshop with the importance of staying within the pre-apprentice work area.
We will then read through the set task for that week to determine the material and tools required to carry out each part of the task and to get a good understanding of what’s involved to achieve the finished product.
One of our recent sessions took place over two afternoons and saw our pre-apprentices marking out botches, bend lines and fixing hole positions on two separate pieces of sheet metal. They start by removing all sharp edges from the work pieces before the marking out stage. Once all the marking out is complete, the notches will then need to be cut out as accurately as possible using the correct hand tools.
The fixing holes will then have to be drilled to the correct diameter and deburred. The two workpiece will then be bent using the small box and pan folder. If the students have followed all instructions correctly then the two pieces should match up together to create a folded open top box that will be riverted together.
How did you get started in engineering?
Barry: I’ve always wanted to be hands on and have a career that is varied and always evolving. Therefore an electrical apprenticeship looked a good prospect. It certainly is a career that covers many areas of expertise.
Garry: I started off in engineering back in 1987 aged 17. After joining a Youth Training Scheme (YTS) at Trainwell based in Wednesbury and after a couple of failed courses within the Building Industry. After joining Trainwell I was sent on to a placement to a company named Napier Products working with stainless steel and aluminium. I knew very quickly that I’d found the career path that I would follow with enthusiasm, passion and the desire to be the best.
There have been a lot of challenges along the way with customers seeking solutions to various issues within their production line. I always relished these challenges with 100% commitment to resolve and deliver the correct solution.
What advice would you give to young people looking to get into engineering or onto the adi pre-apprenticeship programme?
Garry: My advice to the young people looking to get into engineering or onto the adi Pre-Apprenticeship Programme is when an opportunity like this comes your way, take it and give 100%. Be focused and take advantage of the knowledge the people working around you have to share. Listen to what they say. Watch what they do and how they do it. Learn from them and take pride in what you do so one day you can stand there smiling and say I made that!
Barry: Try and realise that whether or not you are academically good, engineering has opportunities for all levels. The beauty of the scheme is that you get to experience a taste of it.BACK TO ARTICLES