Five minutes with Alex Watkin, Building Services Apprentice
It's National Apprenticeship Week, so we caught up with one of our current apprentices, Alex Watkin, to find out why this route into a career in engineering is working for him.
What does your role involve?
As an Apprentice Building Services Engineer, I split my time between college and working. This means I’m learning both the theory and the practical application at the same time, which really suits me. Since I’ve been at BakerHicks, I’ve been working on a major Life Sciences project with our Swiss team. No two days are ever the same, one day I can be designing pipe routes for heating and cooling systems, then the next checking over schedules to make sure the model matches the client’s specifications.
How did you get into engineering?
When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do, engineering wasn’t something I would have thought I’d end up doing! I spent some time travelling and through this I met a lot of people who had either studied or worked in engineering. Something about it just sparked an interest in me so I started to look into it and came across BakerHicks, I was blown away by the scale and complexity of the projects they took on. I applied for an apprenticeship position and, well, here I am!
When I first started I didn’t know which discipline I wanted to specialise in, I was given the opportunity to work with each department for a short period. This was great as it really let me get a feel for what working in that discipline would be like and let me make a much more informed decision than I would have done otherwise. I just really enjoyed the building services work, it was a challenge and I liked working with the team, so I decided that would be my focus. I’m now studying for a HNC in building services engineering at Solihull college.
What made you choose the apprenticeship route?
The apprenticeship programme really appealed to me as I could learn while I worked. I’m more of a practical person and full-time classrooms aren’t for me. I enjoy getting stuck in and having a go at things, and the apprenticeship lets me do this under the guidance of a mentor, so I can learn in the best way for me. I’d definitely recommend this route for anyone who is interested in engineering as a career but isn’t sure that university is for them.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I think it’s the people, my team are great and the amount of information and knowledge I’ve learnt from them is amazing. Their support has allowed me to see just what I’m capable of. I’ve also been assigned a mentor who really puts a lot of time and effort into helping me understand things and make sure I am on the right track so I am getting the most out of everything.