Through an Apprentice’s eyes – an update

Dean Sowerby, Apprentice, QinetiQ Apprentice Training School at Boscombe Down

Date: July

Gate Guardian

In May I reported on the work QinetiQ apprentices had been doing on refurbishing the Lightning – the gate guardian at our Boscombe Down site. This month, we began our two final structured courses at the Training School owned by QinetiQ: jet theory and piston theory. This involved a couple of weeks of theory, alongside practical-based work on the various engines available to us at the school. After all of the learning, we had the respective exams to complete, knowing that if we passed them, we would have finished the first part of our apprenticeship. Thankfully, we all passed and can now progress onto the next stage of our apprenticeship: a placement!

Apprenticeship Image

Apprenticeship School

My group of apprentices have ventured to the ‘top of the camp’ (our expression for where the ‘real’ work happens, away from the school at the bottom of the hill!) We have been put to work in various departments in order to get a feel for how the different aspects of the base operate. We will be stationed in these placements for anywhere from a month to six months, with the main aim of gaining experience to complete our NVQ. I have been placed in Air Worthiness for a month, where I’m learning what it is they do here and helping out wherever I can. It’s very interesting for me, firstly because I’ve never worked in an office environment before, and also because I’ve never really put much thought into this side of things, and about how important it is to collate all information regarding an aircraft to establish whether it can fly or not.

The highlight of the month, however, has to be helping out and attending the ETPS 70th anniversary event. My group of apprentices took a Friday off from our placements to return to the apprentice/ETPS hangar to help out at the event, and talk to various ETPS graduates and their families about what we do at the apprentice school. It was a great day!

Find out more about the wide range of apprenticeships at QinetiQ.


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