National Apprenticeship Week 2019: Alex Smith06 March 2019

National Apprenticeship Week, 4-8 March, shines a light on future technicians and engineers, and the courses, teachers and employers that prepare them for success. Alex Smith is a senior mechanical apprentice at SPIE UK.

I started working with SPIE in September 2016. I am a pipefitter apprentice and I am currently learning welding.

I had always wanted to work as a tradesman, and I was talking to a friend who works as an electrician for SPIE so I got in touch with them. SPIE then told me about the pipefitting and welding qualification as well as the other opportunities they offer, and it seemed like a great qualification to have.

I have completed the first 2 years of my apprenticeship and I am now a level 2 qualified pipefitter. I am currently learning how to weld and by 2020 I will be a qualified pipefitter and welder. As part of the apprenticeship, I have learnt how to install different mechanical systems using different pipe and joining methods. I have worked on some fantastic jobs such as the Shell HQ Tower on the South Bank, installing 10 inch steel pipework to boilers that weight 3 tonnes. I have also done jobs such as Sidney Webb House (Student Accommodation) where I was installing 15mm and 22mm copper to feed each room and installed the showers and toilets.

I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone because there are many different careers and opportunities to choose from. While working as an apprentice you gain experience from tradesmen who have years of knowledge. Being an apprentice is great as you learn new things every day and you are earning at the same time. If you are keen to learn and willing to work hard it is possible to go far in the career you want.

My goals are to complete my apprenticeship and make sure I pass all my college work. Then I would like to gain a wider knowledge on how the industry works mechanically. I would like to improve my welding by doing jobs that involve welding pipework. Then, once I feel like I am ready, I would like to carry jobs out myself and move up within SPIE into management engineering roles.

Alex Smith

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