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08 Mar 2017
Fancy a career in engineering? Don't know where to start? Stagecoach offer apprenticeships in Body repair and Mechelec (Mechanical and Electrical engineering combined) which start in August every year in a number of our UK locations.
But what's it really like to do an apprenticeship with Stagecoach? To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we asked some of our apprentices to share their stories. Catch part one here.
I work as an electrician in engineering for Stagecoach Manchester and our job is to repair and maintain all vehicles so that they are in good condition when they are out in service. I’m currently in my fourth year, coming to the end of my apprenticeship and throughout this year I’ve been improving my skills to ensure that I am a capable engineer when I finish. Another thing which I’ve been working hard towards achieving in my fourth year is my NVQ in mechanics, as I feel that with modern vehicles it is important to have a good understanding of both mechanics and electrics to be able to deal with any fault that comes your way. To complement my qualifications, I spend a lot of time diagnosing faults and working on mechanical jobs and hopefully will become a Technician very soon.
When it came to applying for this apprenticeship the first step was to fill out the application form and send it in along with my CV and a cover letter. At the time I was applying to a lot of different companies for apprenticeships as I’d already decided that doing an apprenticeship would be a better option for me than going to university.
After my application was reviewed, I was asked to come in and do an aptitude test which included basic engineering, maths and physics principles. Having just done A-Levels in Mathematics and Physics I did well in the test and was asked to come in for a final interview. The interview was with the Engineering Director of Manchester and the Head of HR, which was quite daunting and intense, but luckily it went well.
Why do you think you were successful?
I think I was successful for several reasons. Firstly, I’d done A-Levels which not a lot of applicants had, and along with a good cover letter it got me past the first stage. The second stage (the test) I did well in, in fact I later found out that I scored the top mark out of all of the applicants, and this granted me a final interview. Lastly, I think the interview went well for me for a few reasons. I’d had quite a bit of work experience in different jobs - some of which required practical experience, which they saw as a positive as it’s an important part of the job. Another reason, and I think the most important reason, is that I was ambitious and very enthusiastic about working for Stagecoach. I made it clear that I was a hard worker, wanted to learn and wanted to make a career out of working for Stagecoach as opposed to just getting a job.
The advice I’d give someone applying for an apprenticeship would be to treat the application with professionalism. A lot of young people coming straight from high schools have a high school mentality, and don’t realise that to do well you have to be very independent and driven, you can’t just send a CV and turn up on the day. Also writing a good cover letter (even if its not required) can help you be a stand-out applicant and will at least get you an interview. And finally, in the interview try to be professional; dress smartly, have a folder for your documents, have some knowledge of the company you’re applying and most importantly, be enthusiastic.
I chose to do an apprenticeship over going to university because I thought it was the best career path for me. I knew that doing engineering in university would be very academic- orientated with very little practical work, and having spent years in the education system I knew that I didn’t enjoy academic work even if I was good at it. With an apprenticeship, I knew there would be some academic work but a lot more practical learning which suited me better. Another reason was the financial side of it. It made more sense to me to get paid whilst learning and then have a job at the end of my apprenticeship, rather than get into debt by going to university and then not having a guaranteed job at the end. And finally I didn’t see doing an apprenticeship as lesser that having a degree as I knew that with the right company I’d have opportunities to progress in my career.
Apprenticeships aren’t necessarily a step down from a degree. I had straight As in school and had good enough to A-Levels to go to university, but an apprenticeship was a better path towards getting the job I wanted. If you are ambitious and hard working, an apprenticeship with the right company can help you have the career you want.