“I’m learning from scratch from people with many years of experience and knowledge to help me have a head start in my future career,” said 16-year-old Alex Parry who is the first year of a three-year engineering and welding apprenticeship at IPP Stainless Steel Fasteners in Kingswinford.  

Alex added: “I’ve always been interested in engineering and I wanted to learn everything from the ground up 

The apprenticeship is helping me to gain work experience, have more freedom and earn a regular wage, as well as giving me the knowledge I need to work within a business and help me to progress. 

I am learning the basics of bench work and what parts should look like when they’re finished and am also learning how to read drawings correctly and how to measure the parts to ensure they are in tolerance.  

I work in all departments and carry out bench, capstan & CNC lathe work. I have also worked in the dispatch area which involves etching and packing, and I have also spent some time in the quality control department.  

I am required to carry out a range of tasks including removing burrs from completed parts using buffing wheels, threading of nuts using the tapping arm, chamfering studs and nuts on the capstans and operating CNC lathes. 

College assessors visit me in the workplace – they watch me run the lathes and if make a mistake show me how to correct it and fix it on the part so don’t make the same mistake again.  

At the end of the term have a gateway assessment which shows if have the required level of knowledge and skills to progress to the next stage of the course. 

Since starting the apprenticeship I have become more confident and developed my ability to adapt to difficult situations. After completing the programme I hope to progress further in the role as I want to become a CNC programmer and operator. 

I would suggest the idea of aapprenticeship as an alternative option to stopping at school or going to university because you can get on the job work experience and learn from people who have been doing it for years.