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An insight into engineering careers

A trip to Metalcraft gave a group of Year 10 students the opportunity to discover more about careers in engineering and routes into this sector.

The trip, which was organised in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, began with a practical bridge-building challenge, where teams of students competed against each other and a team of Metalcraft apprentices.

Students were then given a talk about the different career pathways into engineering, including university and apprenticeship routes. A tour of the Chatteris site gave students an insight into what Metalcraft does and the type of products it has been involved with making, such as submarines and MRI scanners. They heard how Metalcraft apprentices undertake training in all areas of engineering before picking a specialism. Students were interested to hear that the company even trained one employee as a radiographer in order to be able to x-ray welded material.

Feedback from students showed that they had enjoyed learning about jobs within the engineering sector. They said visiting a real working site has shown them that teamwork plays an important part in engineering. Other aspects included learning about the storage of nuclear waste; how radioactive resistant boxes are made; the earning potential of apprenticeships; and the job potential in this field.

Metalcraft takes on 10 apprentices aged 16 to 18 every year. Students in Year 11 are given a talk by a representative from the company to raise awareness of their apprenticeship scheme. Careers leader Mrs Read also talks to the year group about other apprenticeship opportunities which are available.

She said: “Companies like Perkins, which is an engineering firm, also offer business apprenticeships, so it’s always worth exploring the different types of programmes a company offers, because they might not necessarily relate to the nature of what the company does.”