Mari is the third pupil from The Marlborough Science Academy, St Albans, to embark on an apprenticeship with the machinery maker after Rotech’s managing director Chris Baker strengthened links with the school.
In November 2016, the year 11 student joined his engineering classmates at an open day hosted by Rotech, which Mari says helped him to realise before taking GCSEs “that it was possible to take a non-traditional route into engineering and that there is a lack of qualified applicants with the practical skills”.
Starting the two-year apprenticeship just one week before his GCSE results were announced, Mari attends college two days a week to study a BTEC in Electrical Engineering. Having spent two months in Rotech’s assembly department, he then moved into the machine design and modelling team.
With practical assignments underpinning the Rotech learning experience, director Richard Pether handed Mari a bunch of routers with the instruction to “take as long as you need to connect 28 printers wirelessly". It took the apprentice just five hours to set up the network and he currently remains the only team member to have solved it.
Mari says: “My alternative path was to take maths, physics and chemistry A levels. Although these subjects interested me, I figured that they would be too general and wouldn’t have helped me in reaching my end goal of designing machinery within such a short timeframe.
“It’s really satisfying to know that I am their right hand person for solving specific technical challenges. It also allows you to be more entrepreneurial and take ownership of a project.
“There are very few companies where engineers can have an idea, build it, show it to colleagues and be given the credit for it. Although larger companies might pay more, working for a smaller enterprise means you get to try your hand at new things and can take part in projects that cross over into different business areas and see them through from start to finish.”
Managing director Chris Baker adds: “Working within an SME company like Rotech often gives people a more rounded experience, as they get exposure to all of Rotech’s business, including manufacturing and assembly, design, sales support, admin, marketing and sales. The practical on-the-job experience can give young people an upper hand over staying on in full-time education, and provide wider industry exposure. Additionally, trainees can have the opportunity to make a real difference as projects are likely to have the potential to significantly impact a small scale operation.”
Mari concludes: “My plan is to keep going and learn to drive this year so I can get to customer sites to perform machinery installations and servicing. Ultimately, I hope to keep growing with Rotech and take on a leadership role in the near future.”