Airbus apprentice Tomos returns to school to urge pupils to consider apprenticeships
Airbus apprentice Tomos Jones is encouraging pupils at his former secondary school to consider apprenticeships as a route to their chosen career.
Tomos, 20, from Llanrug, attended Ysgol Brynrefail completing A-Levels in Physics, Mathematics and Welsh Baccalaureate and attended Coleg Menai, Bangor on a part-time basis to study a BTEC Level 3 in Engineering.
From a young age, Tomos loved the idea of pursuing a career in engineering, but it was a college trip to Airbus that led to him discovering a fascination with aircraft.
Now, just over two years into an Aeronautical Engineering apprenticeship with Airbus Broughton, and well on his way to becoming qualified, Tomos hopes his story will show pupils at Ysgol Brynrefail that apprenticeships can be key to career success.
Tomos said: “My favourite subjects at school were always Maths and Physics, and I knew from an early age engineering was a career path I would enjoy and excel at. Whilst studying my A-Levels at Ysgol Brynrefail, I went to Coleg Menai, Bangor to study engineering, but I didn’t start seriously thinking about higher apprenticeships until I visited Airbus as part of my course.
“Whilst walking through the hangars during the tour, I saw the wings being assembled. I was amazed and fascinated by the sheer scale of manufacture and the engineering behind it and I wanted to find out exactly how it all worked. While we were there we were given a talk on the apprenticeships available with Airbus and I decided to apply.
“I started my apprenticeship in September 2015. I spent the first seven months full-time in Coleg Cambria, Deeside, where we gained hands-on practical experience in the workshop alongside our academic studies. We then spent the remainder of the first two years rotating around different departments within the factory, learning about the different aspects of the business. Now, in my third year, I’m working towards my BEng Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and Manufacture through Swansea University, which I’m due to complete in September 2018. After that, I’m hoping to come out of my time within Manufacturing Engineering here at Broughton and help tackle Engineering challenges that the company faces.
“There are real benefits to a hands-on approach to learning where you’re able to put theory into practice. It’s helped me understand how the things I learn in college apply to the kind of work I’ll be doing every day and, because of that, I feel ready for work. If I’d gone to university to study engineering I wouldn’t have that valuable on-the-job experience and I don’t know if I’d feel so well prepared.
“The whole apprenticeship programme has opened doors for me and will provide me with all the experience, skills and qualifications I need to progress my career in the future.”
Kim Shallcross, Early Careers Manager at Airbus said: “As a business, we’re proud to be offering such a high-quality apprenticeship programme. We find it’s a most cost-effective and practical way of finding people who have a natural flair for STEM subjects and training them in the most current and relevant job specific skills and processes for our business.
“Our industry moves so quickly and there are always new technologies being introduced so it’s important that our workforce is fully skilled and capable. This ensures we remain both highly productive and competitive while also ensuring we have a fully skilled workforce. We also have a very low staff turnover as we continually invest in training our staff and developing them to ensure they are progressing within their chosen field. Apprenticeships are a win-win for the business and the individual.”
Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan, said: “Tomos is a perfect example of how apprenticeships can transform lives, helping people into careers. Apprenticeships highlight the importance of gaining practical, on the job experience that provides people with the skills and qualifications they need to build a rewarding career.
“Apprenticeships play an important role in increasing Wales’ overall skill set and driving economic growth, making sure that the nation remains competitive on the world stage. Apprenticeships are a worthwhile investment for employers who can train their workforce in the specialist skills they need to sustain and grow their businesses.
“National Apprenticeship Week is an important celebration of the fantastic opportunities apprenticeships offer to individuals as well as businesses across Wales. For individuals, apprenticeships can be a route to an exciting and fulfilling future career. Through apprenticeships, companies are helping to keep vital skills and industries alive and drive economic growth in Wales.
“Although we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week every spring, the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme runs throughout the year to highlight the opportunities and support available for both apprentices and the employers who take them on.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
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