Steering specialist celebrates apprenticeship success

Steering specialist celebrates apprenticeship success

Breaking into a career in engineering can be difficult, despite the ongoing skills shortage and a record high in vacancies. That’s why apprenticeships offer such valuable opportunities for aspiring young engineers to gain a head start in the industry. Here, you can read our interview with Michael Whitehouse, a young engineer who recently completed his apprenticeship with us.

Q: What inspired you to go into engineering?
Upon finishing my GCSEs, I wasn’t one hundred per cent certain what I wanted to do. Following a conversation with the school’s career’s advisor, I decided to go to some open days and events. I attended the Midlands Group Training Services’ (MGTS) open day – and the machines they had on show - lathing, electrical, welding and CAD - all fascinated me with the precision in their processes. I handed my CV in and after some time, I was offered eleven interviews, with Pailton being one of them. They gave me an opportunity for training and development which began my career in engineering.

Q: What was the hardest challenge of your apprenticeship?
The biggest challenge for me was the social aspect – going into a male dominated profession, with a majority of my colleagues being significantly older than me – I had to mature quickly in the workplace.
If we are talking project wise – then that would have to be my current one – implementing an efficient assembly cell for a new Pailton product. Having to design the whole area was a big task which posed many problem-solving and logistical challenges. However, with the area now functioning I can safely say I am extremely pleased with my work.

Q: What was your favourite moment so far?
I wouldn’t say there is a single stand out moment, but rather an ongoing process of acquiring knowledge that has helped me throughout my time at Pailton. Starting with no background engineering knowledge, I reflect on my development frequently in my discussions with customers and colleagues alike. The wealth and variety of skills that Pailton has provided me has certainly kickstarted my career, which I am grateful for.

Q: Currently going to university is the dominant path following completion of studies at A-levels and GCSEs. Would you recommend an apprenticeship scheme to others?
Yes, definitely. Apprenticeships offer first-hand experience of being in a workplace, as well as the educational side.In my opinion, university students may feel a slight disconnect from the workforce as quite a lot of their knowledge is theory based, and they may not have had the opportunity to experience the workplace themselves.

Q: What are some of the current projects you are working on?
One of my projects has me and my colleagues developing steering columns for a customer in Turkey.
Another one has me designing sliding shafts for a military application. This one is particularly challenging due to me being responsible for keeping manufacturing costs down, as well as making sure that the components created are as identical to each other as possible.
I also take part in running testing for some of our new draglinks that are in development – I run fatigue, temperature and maximum load tests to ensure our parts are up to standard.

Q: What are your ambitions for the future?
An immediate action plan would be for me to complete my HNC (Higher National Certificate). Upon completion, I want to push myself further and take up study through the HND (Higher National Diploma). Following on from that maybe a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
On the career side, I will certainly be continuing on my path in engineering in the hope that my career is full of new challenges, opportunities and further milestones!

Q: Would you like to make any closing remarks?
I would like to thank the Pailton Engineering team for welcoming me into the business and providing me with the opportunity of an exciting career.

If you are interested in career opportunities at Pailton Engineering, please visit the careers section of the website