Adam Bytheway is a mechanical technician at Chemoxy International, one of the largest contract manufacturers in Europe. He started a mechanical engineering apprenticeship with the company in 2014 and, in 2016, he was offered a full-time job. Here, he'll explain how he decided to go down this route, and why you should consider it too.

Choosing a career path is never easy: there are so many options available to you that committing to just one can be difficult. But, if you're interested in developing a highly valued skillset that is almost guaranteed to secure you a job with an attractive salary, mechanical engineering could be perfect for you.

There are two main routes you can take into mechanical engineering: you can secure an apprenticeship, or study the subject at university. I began my career as a mechanical engineering apprentice, which I would recommend to anyone looking to get hands-on experience that will help them to walk straight into a job. An undergraduate course can teach you a lot, but you don't always get on-the-job training as a student, and this has been a huge part of my development. 

Here, I'm going to talk you through why I'm glad I took a mechanical engineering apprenticeship, and will explain why you should consider it as a potential career path, too.

You'll get to learn on the job

For me, one of the major benefits of taking an apprenticeship was that, while I did spend some time in a classroom, I also got plenty of hands-on experience. I got to work alongside people who were already doing the job I wanted, and I learned a lot from watching and speaking to them.

The on-the-job training that I received was vital to my development and, without it, I'm not sure I would have been ready to accept a full-time job just two years after beginning my training. With an apprenticeship, you learn about how companies work, the sort of roles that might be available to you, and how you're going to fit into a workforce, which I found very helpful. 

Although I could have studied mechanical engineering at university, I decided it wasn't the route for me because I wanted to get stuck in straight away. If you feel the same way, an apprenticeship could be the best option for you. 

There is an engineering skills gap

The UK is currently suffering a skills shortage, according to a report released by the British government. A lot of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) industries have been hit hard by this, which means the mechanical engineering sector is crying out for more trained workers. As a result, there are plenty of vacancies just waiting to be filled by young people who are starting out in their careers, and that could be you!

There will always be a need for mechanical engineers, so, once you've completed your training and made some contacts, you should never have to worry about being without a job. It's likely that there's always be a company that's interested in employing you because of your specific skillset. 

You could choose to work almost anywhere in the world

The UK isn't the only nation that has been hit by the skills shortage, so plenty of companies operating abroad will be happy to have you on their workforce. And, every country in the world needs mechanical engineers so, if you have dreams of living and working abroad, joining the industry could open a lot of doors for you. 

There are so many important and exciting projects being worked on all of the time, both in the UK and overseas. Once you're a trained mechanical engineer, you can look at what's going on in the sector worldwide, and then move to another country if you find a job role that you're sure will suit you perfectly. 

You'll develop a varied skillset

Mechanical engineers tend to be jacks-of-all-trades, but in the best way possible. To work within the industry, you need to have a working knowledge of computer applications, electricity, structures, maths, and physics. Plus, you'll be expected to have some understanding of the social, environmental, and economic impact your work can have. A mechanical engineering apprenticeship can teach you all of this. 

You'll develop your technical skills, as well as your understanding of the way the world works. If that sounds appealing, this could be the perfect route for you.

The future of the industry is bright

This is a very exciting time for the engineering industry. Big changes are happening all of the time, and ground-breaking projects are being worked on all over the world. The demand for alternative energy sources, new medicines, and more efficient machinery has never been higher. So, if you're looking to be part of an exciting and important industry that truly does have the power to change the way the world works, applying for mechanical engineering apprenticeships is a great place to start.

This blog was written by Chemoxy

Apprenticeships Apprenticeship Experience