When we caught up with him, he’d just finished an apprenticeship in Maintenance Engineering, and was looking forward to taking a degree next year.
Hi Tyran! Please introduce yourself for us.
My name’s Tyran Simmons. I’m from North Wales. I’m working at Wales and West Utilities.
And what apprenticeship are you taking with us, Tyran?
An apprenticeship in Maintenance Engineering.
Are you enjoying it?
Yeah, I’m nearly finished as well, so even happier.
How long have you been doing it for?
This is my third year now. I’ve always wanted to be an engineer, and I’ve seen it as an opportunity to retrain.
So, the pull was learning new skills in engineering.
Has your apprenticeship improved how you do your job? Can you see the parallels between what you work, what you working on in the apprenticeship and what you’re doing day-to-day and work?
Yeah, massively. Where I work, a lot of the lads are time served, so having the ability to come in at a higher academic level has pushed me up. The technician courses, the more advanced courses still need to work with advanced maths and stuff. And because of the apprenticeship, I’ve had a better understanding and I’m the go-to person for certain things at our place now whereas I feel like without the apprenticeship. I’d still be doing the more basic tasks.
Definitely. So it’s helped you to progress in your role and in your career, really.
Yeah, massively. It’s also helped me bring work forms in, change procedures, change how the work is done, and how it’s recorded, stuff like that. So it’s been a huge, huge help.
Fully-funded Apprenticeships for Employers
Fully-funded Apprenticeships for Employers
Amazing. And who is your training advisor from TSW?
I have Stuart Davies.
And how is it being working with him?
He’s just been brilliant and absolutely been someone in my corner. We’ve got new management now but when we had the old management, I really needed Stuart because he’d give them the nudge in the right direction when I wasn’t getting any responses from my company. It really was supportive because without Stuart, a lot of things won’t have got done. Especially for someone younger, you know, these young lads, if they go into a company, they might be shy to speak up where Stuart just speaks up on your behalf. So I really appreciated it.
I just can’t stress how much Stuart has been an absolute superstar. Brilliant. He’s really fought my corner through this, so I’m really happy.
It’s nice to know you’ve got someone in your corner, isn’t it?
Yeah, especially when the politics get into place. I’m only the second person to have done the pipeline apprenticeship at Wales and West.
There were a lot of hurdles to go across and I feel without Stuart, I wouldn’t have got past them. So yeah, 100% happy with that.
That’s lovely to hear. Are you learning with anyone else? Do you have any contact with anybody else who’s doing apprenticeships at the same time?
No, not no, not really. I think I’m the only apprentice in North Wales.
I was going to ask if you felt like part of a community, but I’m guessing you don’t because you’re the only one!
No. Well, I am with TSW. They put me forward to do the HNC.
So again, without them, I wouldn’t have this HNC. We had a good group of lads on the HNC, all from different backgrounds and a few were apprenticeships. A few lads just trying to improve the quals for their jobs and we had WhatsApp groups and stuff like that. So we all got through that together, you know.
That’s really lovely. And how does your employer support you?
I was on day release on the Mondays for the HNC, so they supported me in that way. The HNC work was done in my own time.
With the new management, we have monthly progress meetings, so I let them know if I need anything. It’s been good because a lot of companies might not have released me and said that they don’t need HNC at my level, so it was good for them to allow me to do that.
Sure. And what motivates you to learn, personally?
The passion for learning, really. I have to be in a job role that that allows me to continually learn my skills, or I lose interest. I’m a serial careerist, and as soon as I get to a point where it becomes no more learning or no more progression, I seem to move on. In the job I’m in now, especially going to net zero and our role in that, it’s not going to happen for a very long time. The passion for actually learning is my drive for it.
Do you think taking an apprenticeship has changed your life in some way? It could be small things like improving the processes you use at work or it could be bigger things like improving your confidence at work.
Yeah, it’s improved my skills massively. I’ve gone from what I felt was a year seven level maths to a first-year degree level of math and that’s led to me bringing in new procedures and new documents for the lads to work with. For example, we’ve got quite a complicated survey and instead of them having to do every calculation, I worked out the equations and put it into an Excel form for them. Without that extra level of math and understanding of equations, it wouldn’t have happened.
That’s amazing. It just makes life so much easier, doesn’t it?
I’m very popular at the moment.
Yeah, they really love you. And what advice would you give people thinking of taking up an apprenticeship?
Self motivation is your number one. You’ve got to be self-motivated. It’s not put on a plate for you, and you get out what you put in. If you’re going in there and you’re trying your hardest, you’re going to get more out of the apprenticeship, so you know, strive for the distinctions, don’t go for the passes.
Also, speak up as an apprentice. I’m older – I’m 36 now – and it was even difficult for me to speak up. When you’re in a world of people who are qualified and time served, they can put barriers up to bringing new ideas to them but just persevere with it. Don’t be scared, because if you have an idea, it might not work, but at least you’ll find out why it doesn’t work. So with your next idea, you might be able to implement it. Speak up, be confident in yourself, be organised and be self-driven.
And what are your personal career aspirations? Where will we see you in 10 years’ time?
My personal career aspirations would be a technician within four or five years, and I’m going to go for my degree next year.
We’re sure you’ll smash it, Tyran!