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National Apprenticeship Week

Published 5 February 2024

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) provides a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of apprentices around the country and highlight the positive impact they have on businesses, communities, and the wider economy.

In 2024, NAW is taking place between 5th and 11th February, with the theme being ‘Skills for Life’ this year. At ORE Catapult, we endeavour to offer regular and continuous apprenticeship positions across multiple locations.

Below, we got to know five of our apprentices currently working within an ORE Catapult team:

Meet Armin Malekian, Maintenance Electrical Technician Apprentice

Tell us a bit more about your role, and why you want to work in this sector.

My role is electrical maintenance (apprentice) technician, maintaining and fixing plant and machinery on site. I want to work in this growing industry as it’ll never be a struggle to find a job, the demand is growing each day, providing the opportunity to travel the world and work in different environments within this industry.

What are some ‘skills for life’ that you would like to learn and how could ORE Catapult help achieve these?

I would like to work offshore at some point in my life, the idea of travelling away for work sounds exciting. I would like to learn the skills and go through all the training to get my tickets to allow me to work offshore.

So far, the most valuable skill I’ve learned is to stay composed while working with different people in an ‘intense’ working environment, using different techniques to solve a problem/fault. My best piece of advice for would-be apprentices would be: ‘Communication is the key. Positive things happen to positive thinkers’.

Meet Charlie Rogers, Controls & Design Engineer Apprentice

Why did you choose this apprenticeship?

I chose this apprenticeship because of my deep passion for renewable energy. I am enthusiastic about being part of a sector that addresses pressing environmental challenges and contributes to a sustainable future. I am also very eager to work with cutting-edge technology in controls and design engineering and believe this apprenticeship at ORE Catapult provides a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art solutions, positioning me at the forefront of technology advancements in the renewable energy industry.

So far, I have enjoyed the design and creation of HMI screens, and once I am fully trained, I’ll be crafting, testing, and implementing code to govern and monitor system performance, utilizing programming languages and software tools to devise algorithms and logical processes.

What was your first week like?

My first week was a mix of excitement and challenges. It involved absorbing a lot of information about the company and the intricacies of offshore renewable energy. Despite the initial learning curve, the supportive team and hands-on experience helped boost my confidence. Overall, it was a fascinating introduction to the field, setting the stage for ongoing learning and growth.

What would you consider the most Valuable ‘Skills for Life’

It would have to be adaptability and analytical thinking. Adaptability ensures staying current with evolving technologies, while analytical thinking allows for systematic problem-solving and effective control strategy development. These skills address current challenges and anticipate future developments in control engineering.

Developing strong problem-solving skills transcends beyond just one profession and becomes a skill for life. The ability to analyze complex issues, break them down systematically, and devise effective solutions is a fundamental skill applicable to various aspects of life, whether it’s addressing personal challenges, making informed decisions, or navigating unforeseen circumstances. It becomes such a versatile toolset for approaching and resolving diverse situations throughout a lifetime.

Meet Dan Banks, Engineering Technician Apprentice

Do you have any advice for would-be apprentices?

I think the main advice I would give a would-be apprentice is to stick in. At first you may be confused and a bit frustrated with yourself if you don’t understand something, but with time and working hard you can eventually learn and understand the complex work. I also think to try and organize your time as best as you can and to always ask for help when you need it as you are surrounded by experience.

What’s the most valuable skill you’ve learnt?

A skill I’ve learnt and am still developing is teamwork. I can be very independent at times; however, since working here and with my team, I have realised how important teamwork is and how it should be used when carrying out procedures.

How has your apprenticeship at ORE Catapult been?

My role is an electrical technician apprentice, within this, I am tasked to assist with the setup and testing of cables, as well as maintenance around the lab. My first week was a bit daunting as I didn’t know what to expect due to it being my first full-time employment. However, the team I work with are great and they welcomed me very well and helped and guided me when I needed it. I chose this apprenticeship because I wanted to gain and further my knowledge in engineering. This apprenticeship has allowed me to both learn on the job and continue to go to Newcastle College University part-time to finish my education.

Meet Ian Hudson, HV Laboratory Scientist Apprentice

Why did you choose this apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship interested me due to the degree in chemistry I could achieve and working in renewable energies would have a long career path. The position was suggested to me by my chemistry teacher at A-level, he thought I would be a good candidate due to my not wanting to attend university and wanting to start a career straight away.

What was your first week like?

The first week at Catapult was eye-opening as it was the first time I had seen the facilities and the magnitude of work which happens here. I thought I was slightly out of my depth because I had no prior knowledge of the industry, but David Hoyle was a great help to get me settled in and working on tests straight away.

Do you have any advice for would-be apprentices?

My advice for any new apprentices is to ask as many questions as you can, this is because the staff who work at Catapult have valuable knowledge and experience, which most of the time you cannot find online or in a book. I would also say push yourself out of your comfort zone as there are many opportunities that are great learning experiences, which you might think you aren’t ready for but can be vital learning opportunities.

Meet Sharan Kekada, Finance & Funding Apprentice

What was your first week like?

During my first week as a Finance and Funding Apprentice, I was eager to immerse myself in the financial sector and learn more about the complexities of funding procedures. The week began with a complete orientation, during which I met my team members, learned about the organizational structure, and became acquainted with the firm.

I shadowed experienced colleagues, gaining important insight into the funding department’s day-to-day operations. I was exposed to numerous systems and tools that the team utilizes. My manager and coworkers were extremely supportive, taking the time to answer my concerns and give direction as I navigated new ideas and processes.

By the end of the week, I started helping with minor tasks, which not only built my confidence but also provided me with a hands-on grasp of the duties that come with my position. As a whole, it was a fantastic experience.

What are some ‘skills for life’ that you would like to learn?

As a finance and fundraising apprentice, I am eager to learn a variety of skills that will not only help me excel in my profession but will also serve me well in life. Some of the ‘skills for life’ that I intend to learn include:

  • Effective communication
  • Time Management
  • Networking and relationship-building
  • Adaptability and resilience

ORE Catapult can help me develop these abilities by connecting me with mentors within the organization who can teach me about their roles and offer assistance. They can also provide opportunities to work on diverse projects and collaborate with different departments while providing constructive feedback for personal and professional growth and regular feedback sessions with my manager.

By investing in these aspects I would be equipped with skills that extend beyond the workplace, benefiting me in various facets of life.