National Apprenticeship Week 2019: Jack Miles04 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. Jack Miles is a goods lift engineer apprentice at Penny Hydraulics.

I began my apprenticeship with Penny Hydraulics a few years ago as a way of getting hands-on experience in the field I wanted to progress my career in. For those who are keen to get some practical skills to build on their theoretical knowledge, an apprenticeship is a valuable way of learning first hand from experts in your desired career field.

I currently split my time between working at Penny Hydraulics and learning at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, so I can add more depth to my learning experience. When I’m away from the AMRC, my apprenticeship involves working as part of the MezzLift — Mezzanine Floor Goods Lift — division, which I create the control panels for. Each of the goods lifts that Penny Hydraulics manufacture and install is unique, so my job role requires knowing the products inside out and ensuring the components are functional and compatible with the lift technology.

Since taking on the role with Penny Hydraulics, I believe I’ve learnt so much more than I would have simply through studying. The opportunities I’ve been given here have allowed me to gain experience in both fixing and creating control technology, which I hadn’t been covering at the AMRC. This means that I have now broadened my skillset from just the electrical theory side of things and have been able to gain a vast range of experience working with the control panels. What I particularly like about my job is that no two days are the same: I travel up and down the country installing the lifts and interacting with people to help them get the most out of their equipment, which is really rewarding.

I believe that the amount of hands-on experience and responsibility I’ve been trusted with during my years with Penny Hydraulics has been fantastic for building confidence in my own abilities, and I now have bigger goals than I ever could have imagined. Once my apprenticeship ends, I hope to stay on with the company and work myself up to manager level and advance myself as far as possible. There are so many opportunities here and I would love to branch out into other specialist divisions within the company so I can understand the overall process better.

If you’re considering doing an apprenticeship, I would definitely say go for it! My time with Penny Hydraulics has been a massive help in furthering my career and developing the skills I’ll need to be successful in this field in the future. Plus, making money alongside my learning has meant I can continue to reinvest in my career through the AMRC so I never feel limited to how much I can learn about this brilliant industry.

Jack Miles

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