Winning our Learner of the Month award for his hard work and perseverance during his engineering apprenticeship, Daniel’s love for learning just keeps growing. We chatted to him about his ambitions and how his TSW Training apprenticeship will set him on the right track to achieving a lifelong dream.
Congratulations on winning our Learner of the Month award, Dan!
Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
My name’s Daniel Ford, I’m 35 years of age and I’ve been employed by Rocialle Healthcare for the last 15 years. For the last 11 months, I’ve been moving into a new role. I’m a Technician at the moment but a Trainee Engineer at the same time, so that’s why I’ve been on the TSW course.
What does the engineering side of things look like for you?
At the moment, I’m working under a Shift Engineer – he’s showing me the ropes. We’re on double shifts so different shift patterns and it’s mainly just maintenance. Rocialle Healthcare provide supplies to the NHS.
We’ve got a clean room so we’ve got machinery in there. Day by day, we’ve got different issues and we just keep the production running.
Have you been enjoying the apprenticeship?
Yeah, it’s really opened my eyes!
Before I took the job as a Technician, I’d always been interested in the electrical side of things. I was training to be an electrician years ago when I first left school but that didn’t materialise. So it was nice when I finally got this job; my manager talked about sending me off to college and doing NVQ’s.
I’m in the process of doing my NVQ now with my Training Advisor Rob, I’m about eight or nine months in at the moment so we’re still going through the units. But I’m looking to go to college in September to do City & Guilds too.
My manager is very supportive and it’s going to be beneficial for my career.
It makes a difference when you’ve got a manager who’s supportive with your development, doesn’t it?
It really does. I’d like to give Craig Thomas a personal mention. He’s been brilliant – very supportive. He’s always got time for me and when Rob comes in, I can spend a couple of hours with him and there’s no issue, there’s always cover on the shift. And he’s always looking for new courses to send me on aswell.
He sounds like he’s really in your corner.
He is, and Rob is too. When I started with the NVQ, the first assessor I had – I didn’t really get his way of learning and teaching. But I’ve had Rob for the past two months and it’s like a breath of fresh air. I’ve been enjoying it a lot more. We connected straight away; I feel like it’s a lot better at the moment so long may it continue.
Is there anything in particular about the apprenticeship that you really enjoyed or that really stood out to you?
To be honest, I just feel like I’m learning new skills all the time. I just feel a lot more organised and everything. I haven’t really done anything like this since I left school so it’s getting back into the swing of things but I’m really enjoying it. It’s a four-year course but I’m hoping to get it done within two years. I spoke to Rob about it, and he seems confident we can get it wrapped up in two years. I’ll have more time then in the future to concentrate on other things, you know? Go into different areas then, maybe.
Has the apprenticeship improved how you do your job? Can you see any parallels between your course and your day-to-day work?
There are definitely parallels. I feel like my documentation skills have improved. If we get a contractor on-site, we have to fill out forms and I feel like it’s helped me with things like that. Just overall organisation skills at the moment.
It’s definitely benefitted me – I’m more confident, I’m talking to more people.
Let’s talk about Rob…
He’s been really supportive, he’s easy to talk to, he’s always there.
He comes in about once a month for a face-to-face but if I ever need him for anything, he’s always at the end of the phone. He’s good as gold.
Do you feel part of a community when you’re learning?
My friend Josh, who works with me at Rocialle, he’s another learner at TSW. And he’s already studying in college so he’s mixing with others.
Josh is a bit ahead of me in his learning and he’s really enjoying it. I’m getting feedback from him which is nice, so I know what to expect when I go to college in September.
And I’ve got Rob, which is great. Plus, I’ve got my shift engineer – he’s already been through the process so he’s always there for advice aswell.
What motivates you to learn, Dan?
It’s career aspirations – I’m motivated to succeed as an engineer. I just want to fulfill my goal. I should have done it years ago, but you know what it’s like. But now I feel like I’ve got a second chance. I’ve got aspirations – I want to complete my NVQ Level 3. Hopefully, I’ll go in September, finish the ONC. That’s a two-year course. I want to go on to a HNC then, a Higher National Certificate. That’s all in years to come but I spoke to the manager about it and he seems very supportive.
It's good for the company too, they’re backing their workers.
They’ve been brilliant.
Do you think taking an apprenticeship has changed your life?
Definitely improved my confidence because I’m meeting new people. I’m more confident in my job too. Simon, my shift engineer, has seen it himself over the last six/seven months so it’s easy to see the benefits there.
What advice would you give to people taking up an apprenticeship, Dan?
Definitely go for it! If I could speak to a younger version of myself, I would have done it a lot sooner. I think it’s amazing – it gives you so much confidence. It gives you more organisation skills – that’s in your personal life too. There are massive benefits to it.
It sounds like it was all meant to be for you – it’s turned out the way it was meant to.
Fingers crossed, it’ll all go well now!
It will! Where will we see in 10 years, Dan?
Hopefully, get the ONC and HNC out the way. And then stay in the engineering side of things, really. I’d like to stay with the company I’m with – I’ve given them 15 years of service and they’re supporting me at the moment through this. I’d like to see how far I can go in this company. We can go to the top, hopefully.
We’re sure you will, we’re sure you’ll fly Dan!