The LMB has a long history of offering apprenticeships to help give the next generation the specialist skills and experience to work in our laboratory. Over the years, apprenticeships have received a variety of qualifications working in many of our scientific facilities and support services, such as our Electrical and Mechanical Workshops, our Media Prep and Glasswash Facility, and our Finance and HR Departments.
Here, William Batey shares his experience completing an apprenticeship in the LMB’s Estates and Facilities Department.
I discovered the MRC apprenticeship after completing my electrical foundation course at West Suffolk College. I recognised the value of on-the-job experience and was keen to find a way to further my education and earn some money at the same time. The MRC apprenticeship stood out from the others with its multi-skilled focus, making it a great opportunity to learn more than one trade.
I joined the LMB in 2019 as a Multi-Skilled Maintenance Technician Apprentice, working within the Estates and Facilities department to maintain the MRC’s buildings and its infrastructures, carrying out planned and reactive maintenance on electrical and mechanical systems ranging from emergency lighting to steam boilers.
Over the years I’ve been tasked with exciting projects such as the refurbishment of the MRC’s domestic properties. This involved working with other engineers to overhaul both the plumbing and electrics. I surveyed the building, ordered new parts and installed new appliances. I found this insight into domestic installation work beneficial in developing and broadening my technical skillset.
Sustainability is a key focus for the department and I’ve been involved in some of the projects to help make the LMB more environmentally friendly. For instance, we recently upgraded our plant lighting from fluorescent to LED. This was a big project which took more than six months to complete. This equated to over 2,000 light fittings which will increase energy savings and reduce breakdowns.
I was assessed throughout the apprenticeship with exams, assessments and assignments. I attended college weekly, learning theory in the classroom and practical skills in the workshop. Alongside this, I had to create a portfolio showcasing my work at the MRC. To qualify, I had to undertake an endpoint assessment. This consisted of an exam, a four-hour practical observation and a two-hour technical interview.
I am now a maintenance and operations engineering technician with qualifications in advanced manufacturing engineering and mechatronics maintenance. I chose to specialise in Electrical maintenance when I took on a permanent role at the MRC earlier this year and I plan to continue my education and training in this field.
Completing my apprenticeship has given me recognised qualifications and invaluable experience which have set the foundations for my career. My advice to apprentices would be to implement a strong structure to your workload. You will often have a lot of deadlines approaching at the same time. Sort your work by due date, work hard and it’ll be worth it in the end.
Stephen Holmes, Head of the LMB’s Estates and Facilities Department, commented, “The opportunity to undertake on-the-job training whilst continuing formal education greatly benefits both the LMB and our apprentices. The Estates and Facilities Department are excited and pleased that William has successfully completed his apprenticeship and has chosen to become a fully qualified member of the team. William’s first-hand experiences of our systems and engineering will help us to continue to deliver the very best support to the LMB’s scientific operations.”