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5 tips for apprentice engineers

Today’s engineering workforce looks marginally different in comparison to 30 years ago. For example, greater flexibility means that training to be an engineer no longer means staying in the same job for life – many engineering skills are transferable, and because of this, engineers are typically in high demand across a variety of public and private-sector industries.

There are now more women in engineering too, with female engineers continuing to innovate and bring expertise to the table throughout apprenticeships in North West England and beyond.

Of course, some practical tips are timeless, and those considering training to be an engineer should consider the following when enrolling in an apprenticeship:

1. Find a good mentor to connect with

This might seem obvious at first glance – but partnering with an experienced role-model during the tenure of your apprenticeship will undoubtedly inspire you to perform better. When you’re working with a team or a colleague who pushes you to perform to the best of your abilities, this will stand you in good stead as you embark on your career path. Advice from experienced engineers is invaluable – take note of the strengths of those teaching you and try to implement them into your own working processes.

2. Learn people management skills

While the practical aspects of engineering are incredibly important, the ability to manage a team is also vital in modern engineering – and there’s a good reason for this. Science and technology are constantly evolving to the point where engineering processes change at incredibly rapid rates. For example, a project manager who started on their career path thirty years ago might not be 100% familiar with every current piece of technology at his or her disposal, but with the ability to manage a younger team who are up to date with current procedures, the entire project will succeed.

It is imperative as a young engineer to develop your practical skills and technical knowledge, but it’s also wise to work on your management skills to create the conditions for a future generation of young engineers, too.

3. If you’re unsure of something, ask a question

Never be afraid of coming across as underinformed if you aren’t entirely sure of something. This is a general piece of advice everybody should take note of, but it’s particularly important for engineers. In engineering, there is little room for mistakes – they can be costly, and even dangerous.

Over the course of your apprenticeship, there will be lots of things that seem complicated and difficult to understand at first – as part of your education, it is your duty to ask questions. This forces you to consider every option, pushes you out of your comfort zone and ultimately improves your abilities as an engineer.

4. Never stop learning

While an engineering apprenticeship might be the path to a qualification, one thing is for certain: it won’t be the end of your learning journey. Continuous learning throughout your career is paramount if you want to remain relevant and at the cutting-edge of your industry. Education is just the beginning – an apprenticeship simply sets you up for a lifetime of learning on-the-job as a professional.

5. Diversify your disciplines

Innovation in engineering often comes from the cross-pollination of disciplines. For example, recognising that the properties of a tool or material from one industry could be useful in another can lead to innovative new thinking – and to be innovative, you need to keep up to date on as many industries as you can. In the information age, young engineers have access to data sets which can help them to further their careers – by constantly striving for modernisation and modification, new pathways are forged.

If this advice has whetted your appetite for a career in engineering, why not see what apprenticeships TTE Ltd has to offer? With an apprenticeship, there are no limits to what you can achieve – so come and see for yourself and prepare for an exciting opportunity to become a leading light in the world of engineering.

Photo: Proctor and the Tester Working Together Efficiently by Smart Chicago Collaborative licensed under Creative commons 2
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