Why Apprenticeships are a Valuable Alternative
We caught up with BCFA member, Hypnos Contract Beds, to find out a little more about their apprenticeship scheme and what better way to do this than speak straight to someone who has witnessed their scheme first hand. Anthony Goodwin, now a Technical Engineer, at Hypnos’ Castle Donington site, comments:
Why did you opt for the Apprenticeship route and how did you get into it?
I previously studied a National Diploma in Sport, at Derby College as a full-time student. However, at the age of 21, I decided that I wanted to change career directions and go into a more technical led field such as Engineering.
I joined the Hypnos apprenticeship scheme as I knew it would provide me with on-the-job experience whilst studying my chosen field. In a technical led role, it’s essential to be able to apply theoretical knowledge to day-to-day work, and with the regular income from an apprenticeship, I was able to do this and keep up with monthly bills.
I found the vacancy on the apprenticeship website where I was contacted by North Notts college supporting Hypnos’s apprenticeship scheme, before going in for an interview with the Operations Manager at the time.
What did you cover in your apprenticeship?
Alongside my apprenticeship at Hypnos Contract Beds, I studied an NVQ in Mechanical Engineering at North Notts College in Worksop. After I completed the course, I made the decision not to continue at college and instead enrolled at the University of Derby. I am now in my final year at university and will soon be completing a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.
I learnt a lot during my apprenticeship, from using 2D and 3D CAD packages, to contributing towards developing a work system to aid the day-to-day operation of the sales admin team.
Now, the main part of my role is defined as ‘value engineering’, where I review Hypnos’ existing products and try to reduce the cost of either the manufacturing process or the materials used, all whilst maintaining the same high standard of quality synonymous with the Hypnos brand.
How was your training organised and how did it support your development?
When I first joined Hypnos, I started out on the production floor, learning how to make products and gaining valuable insight as to how they are manufactured. I was then set up with a workstation in the Technical office, working alongside and learning from the Technical Development Engineer at Hypnos, who guided me through everything I needed to know and acted as my mentor.
I was also set up on a five-day outdoor pursuit leadership course, aimed at improving confidence and developing leadership skills, where all attendees had the opportunity to take charge of an unfamiliar activity such as caving, sailing and canoeing.
The exposure to the daily work that goes on at Hypnos, as well as taking part in additional training courses helped to develop my confidence and organisational skills. What’s more, as some aspects of my job includes maintenance of compliance, my apprenticeship helped me recognise the importance of attention to detail.
What do you feel are the main advantages of an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship provides fundamental on the job training, whilst giving you the opportunity to continue learning about the theoretical aspects of your field of study. I believe that studying combined with working full time represents a ‘working world’ situation, providing valuable experience which full-time education doesn’t necessarily do.
What challenges did you face during your time as an apprentice?
The start of my apprenticeship signified a step in a new direction and change of industry for me. Although I’m a practical person, I had to learn new mechanical and manufacturing theories such as material properties, quality management systems, design systems and advanced mathematics, which was difficult at times. However, I welcome a challenge and thoroughly enjoyed learning something new.
Hypnos is a family run business and I think this is one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed working here so much. There’s a really nurturing culture here and that’s a really important environment for an apprentice to be in in order to thrive and succeed.
What attracted you to this industry?
I see myself as a practical individual and this industry, along with the job, offered the best of both worlds, allowing me to be hands on whilst using the theory which I studied. The industry is still growing which means there is continuing demand for new product design, resulting in more job stability.
What advice would you give to anyone considering an apprenticeship?
I would encourage more people to take on an apprenticeship, especially if they want to gain work experience in the relevant field whilst studying. As well as learning the skills and gaining the qualifications you want, you’ll also gain confidence and the chance to learn while earning. In fact, as the company pay you a regular wage and normally pays for the course you’re studying, it means you’ll be left with no student loans afterwards. Not only that, apprenticeships are a great way to get your foot in the door of a company and can often lead to full-time jobs once you’ve completed your training.
If you're interested in or want to learn some more information about an apprenticeship with Hypnos, follow this link to start your new career: https://www.hypnoscontractbeds.com/uk/about-hypnos...