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#NAW2024 – Life Beyond Apprenticeships

Meet Mackenzie.

Project Engineer

“The trade I picked has opened doors and allowed me to progress further than I would have ever thought I would at this age.”

This National Apprenticeship Week we’re highlighting some of our staff who have completed apprenticeships with us, and where they are today. Meet Mackenzie Clarke, a Project Engineer for Shepley Engineers. Learn more about what drove him to an apprenticeship, and what advice he would give to people thinking about starting an apprenticeship.

What was your apprenticeship in?

I studied a Level 3 Mechanical Fitting Apprenticeship. This included 1 year of training at the Gen2 Salterbeck training facility, followed by 3 years of on-the-job learning with my employer Shepley Engineers based on the Sellafield site carrying out assembly, maintenance, installation and fabrication tasks across numerous projects.

What made you choose an apprenticeship?

I chose an apprenticeship as my ambition after Year 11 was always to gain a trade in engineering. I attended taster days and careers fairs to gain an understanding of which career I wanted to pursue and how I wanted to pursue it. From these sessions, looking at various careers and different approaches to attain becoming qualified I decided to go for a Mechanical Fitting apprenticeship due to the appeal of the hands on approach to learning and my interest in engineering.

What do you do now your apprenticeship is complete? 

I am currently a Project Engineer working on ventilation and mechanical scopes of work on a major projects within the PPP Framework. My role includes coordinating and managing the workforce to efficiently carry out tasks on projects and in the fabrication workshops off site. The projects I’m involved with are extremely complex and there is diversity between every task varying between mechanical, ventilation, welding, lifting and many other scopes of work. I enjoy that every day I am faced with a fresh challenge enabling me to continuously learn new things.

How did your apprenticeship help you?

My apprenticeship provided me with appliable skills, knowledge and experience to perform in my trade. As a result of completing my apprenticeship I gained a level 3 NVQ that enabled me to progress onto Level 4 where I studied a HNC in Mechanical Engineering allowing me to progress even further. Still to this day I apply the skills and knowledge I gained from my time as an apprentice.

What would you say to anybody thinking of an apprenticeship?

I would highly recommend anyone to go down the apprenticeship route. I personally believe that the combination of physically working in the role that you are destined for upon completion of the apprenticeship accompanied by classroom-based learning that this creates a greater learning platform, resulting in learners finishing their apprenticeships not just being highly knowledgeable but also highly experienced within their chosen career path. I have no regrets over the apprenticeship or the trade I picked as it has opened doors and allowed me to progress further than I would have ever thought I would at this age.

Advice that I would give anybody starting an apprenticeship is never be afraid to ask questions. I soon noticed that when I started asking “how would you do this, why are we doing it this way, what’s the best way we can do this” it took my learning on the job to a whole new level. If you show an interest in your role and have a willingness to learn people will make the time and effort to teach you things in greater depth.

Want to know more?
Read more about our apprenticeships or check out our careers page

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