Skip to main content

Name: Matthew
Age: 27
Type of engineering: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Employer: Branston

Matthew realised long ago that he’s a kinaesthetic learner. ‘I’m so much better at learning through doing rather than sitting listening to lectures. So I knew I’d be well suited to both engineering and an apprenticeship as the means to gain the necessary qualifications.’

In fact, Matthew has done not one, but two apprenticeships – the first, in electrical installation, when he left school. ‘I learned how to wire up houses, but got made redundant so I joined the army. When I came out, I decided to go back into engineering, but in an industrial setting. I had done my research and realised there would be more job security in that field.’

He hasn’t looked back. ‘I actually can’t believe how much I’ve learned during the past four years. For one day a week, I’ve been in college and the rest of the time I’m learning on site applying what I’ve learned in the classroom setting. So nothing was ever purely theoretical – practically as soon as I was taught about an engineering concept, I’d be out putting it into practice.’

Having been offered mechanical or electrical engineering as options, Matthew opted for the latter ‘because of my previous experience.’

‘It’s hugely varied work, which really builds my confidence,’ he says. ‘One day, I’ll be fixing street lights in the cark park, the next I’ll be mending the tippers or bagging machines for the potatoes. Today, I’m building a conveyer.’

The financial benefits of an apprenticeship were a huge boon to Matthew. ‘Because I’m a bit older than a school leaver, I needed enough to live on and apprenticeships are great for that,’ he explains. ‘You earn a lot more than most people think. I’ve also been impressed with the level of qualifications you can get. In my second two years, for example, I decided to do an HNC. That makes me feel much more secure looking forward because most jobs in my area of engineering require it. But unlike people who have gone down the university route, I’m not straddled with debt.’

Best of all, says Matthew, engineering apprenticeships provide tangible results. ‘I love that you get to see the fruits of your work. I’ll use my knowledge to put in the relevant wires and parts, then switch it on and it works again. That provides a real sense of achievement.’

Most popular Good Schools Guide articles

  • Apprenticeship Reviews

    We have begun to create independent reviews of apprenticeship programmes (really getting under the skin of organisations to see how they tick in terms of their current and future apprenticeships offers), to give teachers, careers advisers, parents and pupils a reliable and insightful view of what each apprenticeship offers, in the short and in the long term, and of who it suits. Please take a look at them here, and let us know what you think.

  • Traineeships

    To help students qualify for apprenticeship schemes the government have introduced these short traineeship programs, a combination of work experience and learning.  A trainee program will also help anyone who wants to enter an apprenticeship scheme gain the necessary requirements of basic English or Maths qualifications.  Traineeships are work placements can that last from 6 weeks to 6 months. Read more window.__lc = window.__lc || {}; window.__lc.license = 9097600; (function() { var lc = document.createElement('script'); lc.type = 'text/javascript'; lc.async = true; lc.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://' : 'http://') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(lc, s); })(); Engineering apprenticeship interviews Apprenticeship…

  • The Good Schools Guide: Careers

    For nearly 30 years the Good Schools Guide has provided trusted help and advice to parents, helping them with one of the most important questions they face - choosing the right school for their child. The Good Schools Guide: Careers (GSGC) is a natural development of that help, aimed at young people and their parents as they consider the future.

  • Personal Development Programmes

    Apart from having excellent career staff - essential guides to an unknown land - careers departments should offer lots of careers development. These are programmes and opportunities where and through which you can learn about careers; opportunities to experience work, involving real employers or other outside experts.

  • What is Further Education (FE)?

    Further Education refers to educational choices made after reaching your 16th birthday. FE covers all qualifications lower than a degree.

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,200 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

The Good Schools Guide Newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.

The Good Schools Guide manifesto for parents