Inside Word: RWC apprenticeships 

get the inside scoop on RWC’s career-boosting apprenticeship programs.

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RWC has some incredible and varied apprenticeship programs available at the company. We caught up with Nathan, Tom and Sam to find out all about their RWC experiences so far. 

Nathan - Production Technician apprenticeship

What apprenticeship did you do at RWC? 
At the age of 16, I was accepted by RWC, to undertake a 4-year Production Technician apprenticeship. This led to me having a split training programme between Uxbridge College and work-based training at the West Drayton site. Initially, for the first 2-years, it required 3-days on-site followed by 2-days at college per week. The third-year was reduced to 1-day college with the fourth year being all on-site training. Across the work base and college exposure, Health and Safety played a prominent part in my overall training.

What have you learnt during your apprenticeship? 
Moving around the various departments was not only enjoyable but also very rewarding, and I was able to meet people in their work settings, their respective deployment and individual skill requirements together with daily challenges to meet the company's niche market in terms of a good quality product.

How would you summarise your experience? 
The apprenticeship has been challenging with many personal goals achieved. I have had to come out of my comfort zone to meet either a new challenge, skill acquisition or the daily dealings with a diverse workforce during unprecedented times brought on by the global pandemic.

The salient points of the apprenticeship for me were being accepted into a skilled workforce and knowledgeable of respective manufacturing processes. Hopefully, I will be an asset to the company on completion of my apprenticeship with a full understanding of those departments within production together with the associated machinery and equipment to a high level. I also now have the knowledge and skill to not only operate but to troubleshoot and improve the manufacturing processes and associated procedures to maximise the output and quality of our products to our respective customers.

Tom- Toolmaker Engineering Apprentice

What will you gain from your apprenticeship experience? 
During my apprenticeship, you will spend the first two years at Kingston college where you will be completing an NVQ Level 2 in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Toolmaker and Die Maintenance Technician and BTEC Level 3 diploma in advanced manufacturing engineering. In year two I will be completing NVQ Level 3 in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Toolmaker and Die Maintenance Technician and BTEC Level 3 diploma in advanced manufacturing engineering (on day release). In years three and four, you will be completing NVQ Level 3 in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Toolmaker and Die Maintenance Technician and End Point Assessment. 

The apprenticeship will last for four years and will be learning to manufacture engineering components using Lathe, Mills, Surface Grinders, Cylindrical Grinders, Spark Eroder and Jig Grinders. As an apprentice, you will also learn how a mould tool and press tool works, as well as identifying issues and how they can be repaired.  An apprentice will also learn the purpose of each component and how they are fitted to produce a mould or press tool. 

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship? 
Before I was a Tool Making Engineering Apprentice, I worked in the Repair Section in the Toolroom as a General Hand for four years, and it was mentioned to me by a few Toolmakers that I should apply for the apprenticeship to improve myself and learn how to become a Toolmaker. With the support of my Manager, Toolmakers and as I was already working with the company it made sense to try and get onto the apprenticeship scheme.

What has been the best thing about doing your apprenticeship? 
During my apprenticeship, there have been many opportunities to improve my knowledge and learning by working with a Toolmaker with such a supportive company behind me.  

During completing the apprenticeship, I have enjoyed the work and the people I work with. The courses which are required to be completed for the apprenticeship are interesting and well supported. The on-the-job experience is very interesting as there are a variety of tasks that can be completed. I have enjoyed the lessons and the teaching from the experienced Toolmakers and their support which will improve my skill level and knowledge as I progress to completing my apprenticeship and finally becoming a qualified Toolmaker.   

Sam - production apprenticeship 

What apprenticeship did you do, and how long have you been working for RWC?
I have been working at RWC for just under 4 years now, and I’m currently completing my last year on the production apprentice route. For the first two years, I had day release at Uxbridge College starting on my NVQ Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC. For the third and fourth years, I began working on my Level 3 NVQ which is performed and assessed within the workplace.

My qualifications at college covered various topics such as CAD, Electronics, CNC Milling, Lathe, Manual Milling, Hand-Fitting, Engineering Drawing, and Maths/Mechanical/Electrical Principles to name a few. These all enhanced my existing knowledge and training and furthered my understanding of the engineering environment. 

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship? 
Before my apprenticeship I had just completed my A-Levels and had started working in a local Engineering Company, preparing and powder coating manufactured goods. I chose the apprenticeship route to further my career as I wanted a hands-on experience where I could still gain additional qualifications on the side. During my time at school, I completed the Duke of Edinburgh Awards up to Gold, where I accomplished an 18-day expedition through the Corsican Mountains. 

How have you benefited from the experience? 

 During the past few years, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience from various departments, as part of my rotation involves spending a few months in different departments. This involved shadowing, working and learning with Injection moulding, Automation Support, Production Engineering, Quality Engineering, Factory 2 and 4 Production Departments. These experiences have enhanced both my technical and mechanical knowledge as each day brings a new challenge. I am passionate about improving the departments I work in and I’m always looking for ways to improve processes and procedures.

Numerous opportunities have been offered to me during the last few years working at RWC. This has included training on various types of machinery in the departments I have worked in. I hope to continue this training going forward and on the completion of my apprenticeship. I enjoy the challenges presented to me even if I can’t solve them on my own, as I work with a team who can support me where necessary.

Check out RWC's apprenticeship programs here.

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