Boeing Apprentices: tomorrow’s innovators
March 6, 2018
Last September, we broke ground on our first European manufacturing facility, Boeing Sheffield, at the Sheffield Business Park. Even though the building is still under construction, Boeing Fabrication employs 30 people based in South Yorkshire, including 19 manufacturing apprentices, who are in training at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Training Centre in Rotherham. As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018, we hear from two of our Boeing Sheffield apprentices, Lydia Fenton and Daniel Schofield, who joined us in July 2017.
Lydia Fenton, 20, from Stocksbridge, Sheffield, is a machining apprentice with Boeing Sheffield at the AMRC.
Having studied Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at school, Lydia originally planned to go to University to complete a Physics degree. Looking further ahead, however, and having decided that she wanted to make Aerospace Engineering her career, she realised that university might not be the best way to achieve her goals.
Instead she decided that an engineering apprenticeship would give her the required skills, and the ability to progress to higher levels in her chosen industry.
Lydia applied to the AMRC Training Centre, who informed her that Boeing was recruiting machining apprentices. Following an application process and formal interview, Boeing offered Lydia a place on its apprenticeship programme, to become part of its fabrication team and one of the first employees of Boeing Sheffield.
Lydia was quick to accept the offer. She said: “Boeing are known worldwide for their incredible products and services. Working for them is such an amazing opportunity for anyone but certainly for people my age. A lot of people can be working for years and still aspire to be involved with a company like Boeing!”
From day one, Lydia has been steeped in a practical learning environment, equipping her with brand new skills on a daily basis.
“I didn't have any prior knowledge in engineering before I started my apprenticeship. Everything I have learned has been new, which I believe makes every little bit of information key and important.
“The best part for me has been meeting the other apprentices and being able to work with them and build stronger relationships. We all get along really well, support each other through our learning and connect as a team.
“The leadership team at Boeing and the AMRC are all very supportive and are willing to help through any problems. They will all go out of their way to encourage us as apprentices to achieve our best.”
Having been in role since last summer, Lydia is convinced that the apprenticeship route is the best way to prepare young people for engineering and manufacturing careers:
“An apprenticeship is a great opportunity to gain experience in a working environment and to get your qualifications at the same time. I’d absolutely recommend this route to other people my age.”
Daniel Schofield is 19 years old and lives in Sheffield. He’s currently a CNC machinist apprentice with Boeing Sheffield.
Daniel desired a more hands on approach to learning than that found in a classroom. For him, learning how to do things physically, rather than through theoretical learning, is a much better way to gauge and develop your skill set.
After completing a Level Three engineering course and A Levels in Product Design and Physics at college, he attended AMRC open evenings to find out more about apprenticeships. Seeing that Boeing had apprenticeship openings, he thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. He, like Lydia, applied for a place through the AMRC.
Over the course of his apprenticeship with Boeing, Daniel has learned many fundamental skills, such as hand fitting, manual turning and CNC turning – the digital version of the physical fundamentals of turning. This has been his favourite part of the course so far:
“It’s very cool to see how things on a screen turn into a finished product. In this way it’s incredibly rewarding to see work come to fruition.
“The Boeing and AMRC staff have been really helpful, keeping me on track whilst pushing me to be the best I can be.”
Once he finishes his apprenticeship with Boeing, Daniel says he would like to stay on to advance his skills and progress upwards through the company.
“If there’s anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship, I’d strongly recommend that they go for it. It’s an amazing path to learning new skills and getting qualifications, whilst also being paid a wage. You also have the opportunity to stay on with your company and develop a career with them, which is something that’s rarely offered to others so young.”
For information about current vacancies at Boeing, click here.