🚧 NSCG | #NAW2022 Q&A with Bostik apprentice, Jason Tallent
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9th February 2022

Celebrating National Apprenticeships Week 2022, NSCG and Bostik Electrical and Mechanical Engineering apprentice, Jason Tallent took time out to chat to us about his life before an apprenticeship and how being an apprentice has developed his knowledge, skills and long-term career prospects.

Q. How was school for you?

A. I went to Weston Road High School from 2001-2005. I have 9 GCSE’S, they were all grade D. I found it hard to concentrate at school, I just seemed to not be able to focus in lessons. I did enjoy school, but I will admit I was not focused enough, and at the time I didn’t think it was that important.

I had to re-sit my maths, English and ICT and went on to achieve my GCSE grade C (Level 4) in each subject. Being a mature student and having the life experience it was much easier to focus in the lessons, knowing that I had to achieve these grades for the Apprenticeship. Applying all of this commitment now was going to benefit my future and cement myself into a career which I now loved.

Q. After school, did you then go to study at college?

A. I initially studied the Motor Vehicle course at Stafford College, and after a year and a half on the course I got a job in a garage. The job did not last due to the manager not giving me opportunities moving forward, to develop my motor mechanic skills.

Q. You worked for Bostik before you took up an apprenticeship, can you tell us more about your previous roles?

A. Before I got the apprenticeship I worked in the Mastics department for 5 years. I started as a Machine Operator running the cartridge filling machines, before changing roles and becoming a Serviceman for the team. As a Serviceman my job roles included, brining goods in from the warehouse to the machines, and making sure each machine was set up for the operator. Carrying out small fault finding problems, and if there was a fault I could not fix we would then call for an Electrician or an Engineer. I had to help the machine operators with the machines and keep the raw materials topped up. General fork lift driving was also a role to bring goods in being a serviceman was a hands on job which I enjoyed and I was able to learn more about the machines and how they work.

Q. Why did you decide to study for your apprenticeship at NSCG?

A. Having passed my Level 2 Electrical installation I realised how much I really enjoyed working on electrics, and understanding the different electrical circuits. The apprenticeship opened many new career paths, with it being Electrical and Mechanical. I will be learning two new disciplines and all of the different aspects to each of the trades. I had heard great reviews about NSCG and how much you are taught, along with the continued support you get from all of the lecturers. The structure of the curriculum, I thought was really good with all of the different subjects we would be taught.

Q. Where did your interest in Electrical & Mechanical Engineering come from?

A. When I worked in Mastics, I used to ask the Engineers and Electricians about their jobs and the different principles they had learnt for their job roles. Throughout my time at Bostik, I always had an interest in the engineering department, wanting to learn the different types of mechanical engineering, pneumatics and hydraulics. I have always liked working with my hands, stripping things down, working on projects in my garage and fixing tools. Generally I will have a go at anything and look at how different mechanical parts work and can be improved. I wanted to get myself a trade, after the Mastics department closed down.

Q. Typically, what’s an average day like for you in the workplace?

A. I can be called to different machines when they have faults or if something was to break. A lot of the time we have processes which trip the electrical circuits due to overloading of the machines. So I will be called out to trip a machine back in, but firstly making sure that the mechanical and electrical applications are all ok. And to carry out some basic functional tests and Electrical tests to check for voltage across each of the phases and to check if any of the fuses have blown. My boss will set me jobs, it could be working out a cable calculation or finding out a motors characteristics to replace the motor. I can be learning pipefitting skills, machine skills on a lathe, making brackets for machines, or electrical control systems. I might also be asked to make bushes or parts for a machine on a lathe or the milling machine. I am always improving my Electrical and Mechanical skills and knowledge. So far in the Engineering department I have no two days the same, which is one part of the job I love the most.

Q. What is your work / study life balance like?

A. I find it reasonably easy with doing college work at home. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming with work, college work to complete at home/work and owning my own house as well. I just have to plan my days and weekends to give me the time I need and keep on track with my college work. I am fairly good at planning my time and so far I haven’t fell behind with any work for college and write ups I have to do at work. I see my assessor every four weeks at college and every eight weeks at work. When my assessor comes to work, myself and both of my managers sit down and discuss my progress so far. Seeing my assessor regularly does improve my progress and gives me the push to achieve the grades and qualifications I have set for myself, and that I need for the apprenticeship. My assessor sets me deadlines to keep on track with my college work.

Q. Have you had the chance to work on any interesting projects?

A. I have recently finished fitting an RPM sensor to the Winkworth mixing machine in the Kelseal department. It had a small Logic control system, monitoring the RPM of the drive shaft on the mixer. It was part of a customer complaint we had been given, saying the product hadn’t been mixed properly. The sensor I had fitted, was wired to a Logic control, which then sent a signal to relay to switch a beacon from a static light to a flashing beacon. This would then tell the machine operator that the shaft had stopped and the product was not being mixed properly. I have been given the task to fit this control system to other mixers across the site, it was a great success and I really enjoyed doing it.

Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A. I would see myself in five years to have completed my HNC qualification and to have progressed through the engineering department. I would like to have passed my 18th edition and possibly some pneumatic or hydraulic courses through work. I will have passed my level 2 welding course and achieving new goals set by myself to improve my Engineering Knowledge. I would defiantly like to be carrying out bigger electrical jobs at work and increase my skills on a PLC (Program Logic Control). I will continue on learning and developing my skills.

Q. What have you enjoyed most about studying at NSCG?

A. The support I get from the lecturers and the feedback from college is extremely good and always positive. I have enjoyed completing the assignments and challenging myself with the maths on the first year of BTEC. All of the subjects I have studied have increased my knowledge on various new subjects and with the electro-technology I was able to relate what I had learnt at college, to work experiences. Learning new subjects I knew nothing about, has been a great advantage to my work life as well.

Q. Finally, what would you say to other people in your position, who are considering studying an apprenticeship through NSCG?

A. I would definitely suggest studying an apprenticeship through NSCG. Due to the high professionalism and the standard of teaching at NSCG, it is a really good organisation to learn from. The different subjects you will be taught will improve your Engineering knowledge and expand your subject understanding, of the various disciplines in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. You can achieve distinctions in all of your assignments at NSCG, as long as you are a committed and dedicated student to produce a standard of work to a distinction level. Because of the support you will receive from the lecturers you can achieve anything you want to.