Yesterday we spoke to Jack who’s apprentice days are long behind him now, so today were getting another perspective from Ethan who is almost half way through the engineering apprenticeship!

We’ll be finding out what he’s been up to at work, college and most importantly – how the apprenticeship is helping him develop skills for life!

Meet Ethan

Ethan started at Direct Air in August 2022, and he is currently working through an Engineering Apprenticeship at MGTS college. Ethan has been practicing both the servicing and pipefitting site of being a compressed air engineer, in order to develop and expand his skill set. However recently Ethan has been focusing more on Installation work which he is thriving in.

Why did you choose to start an apprenticeship?

Before I joined Direct Air I had reached a point where I knew full-time education wasn’t for me anymore and I was ready to begin my career journey. However, I was still keen to learn as I really wanted to join a company that I had the opportunity to progress and grow in.

I have always had a passion for engineering and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to get involved in, as I much prefer taking a practical approach to a job. Considering this, enrolling onto the engineering apprenticeship at Direct Air seemed like the perfect route for me!

The apprenticeship requires a 50/50 split of workplace on the job training and class-based learning, this keeps me engaged and motivated and means I’m able to learn and earn. I’m really determined to do well and get the final qualification and I believe that once I’m qualified, I’ll have a lot of experience and feel confident in my role.

What does your learning plan for college consist of?

During my first year of the apprenticeship, I spent all term times at college completing my level 2 in mechatronic maintenance. This part of the course provided me with a basic understanding of engineering and the maintenance side to it.

Being at college for the full year meant that I didn’t spend much time at the Direct Air unit or out at customer sites. Considering this, I was really excited to complete my first year so that I was able to get more of an even balance between being at college and at work.

As soon as I started the second year that I’m in now, my schedule then changed and since then I have been based at work all week, minus one day per week to attend college lessons. This has meant that I’m able to gain more experience on site with one year of knowledge under my belt from college work. Now that my time is split more between work and college, I’m able to visit customer sites to shadow experienced Direct Air engineers and gain the real life experience that I need. Being more involved in work now benefits my value to the company and gives me a deeper understanding of compressed air systems.

Although most of my working time is spend observing and assisting Installation Engineers, I have started to practice some service work with guidance from senior engineers, so that I can gain experience with both engineering departments in the company.

I’m looking forward to continuing the remainder of my second year within the course and I’m even looking ahead to completing parts of my training further in the future such as the NVQ.

What tasks are you taking on in the workplace?

As I have been out with many different engineers it has helped me gain such a range of different techniques for completing tasks in the most efficient, yet safest way.

Recently I also have been doing a lot more of the pipework side of the job with the installation engineers which I’m really enjoying. I feel as though I’m picking things up quicker now due to the knowledge and experience I’ve already gained of compressors from working on-site with the service engineers. I really enjoy working as a team to complete compressed air installations as it’s very satisfying, which motivates me to continue working hard in my apprenticeship to complete it successfully.

Alongside shadowing my colleagues and assisting the engineers when completing jobs, I am currently learning to fit the four different types of pipework that Direct Air provides to customers. This consists of Teseo, Mapress, Transair and Galvanised steel pipework.

What’s your favourite thing about the apprenticeship?

Entering the business as an apprentice gives me the opportunity to work on customer sites and gain expert knowledge from senior engineers. I have found pipefitting one of the most enjoyable parts of my apprenticeship as every job I have done so far is different from the last. Completing the jobs alongside the rest of the team also gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once the work is finished.

Although the workplace, hand’s on side of my apprenticeship is what I prefer, I understand how beneficial the college and classroom learning side is as it provides me with the vital knowledge before heading into the real world of compressed air engineering.

I also have great working relationships with my colleagues which makes day to day tasks enjoyable and makes me feel like I can ask for support if I ever need it.

How do you think the skills gained from the apprenticeship will help you to develop into a successful career?

The skills I’ve learnt so far in my one and a half years at Direct Air have been crucial, with information on tools, methods and safe working practices I knew nothing about before starting the apprenticeship. My assignments completed during the first year of college not only taught me about various types of machinery that I will come across when working at Direct Air, but also how to stay within deadlines and complete written work to a great standard.

Now that I have picked up these traits I can use them in any part of my career for the future, as well as helping me to continue successfully through my apprenticeship, gaining my qualifications at MGTS to a level 3 NVQ standard.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to complete this apprenticeship alongside Direct Air, as the skills I’m gaining are lifelong and can be applied at different points in my future career.