|Qualification:||Level 3 Maintenance & Operations Engineering Technician Apprenticeship|
Amelia Cockran is working on her Level 3 MOET Apprenticeship Standard with IPS and her Employer Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), a leader in one of the largest FMCG sectors in Europe’s most significant markets and has also recently started her HNC at IPS, as well as being nominated in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 and Food and Drink Federation Awards. Amelia spoke to us about her Apprenticeship experiences so far and how she is enjoying her Apprenticeship experience and starting her career through this avenue …
“I always knew I wanted a career within Engineering, so at sixth form I was studying A Levels in Engineering along with mathematics and extended project qualification at a UTC (University Technical College) and they are really good with encouraging business opportunities with local employers who would come in and talk to us, offering us career advice. I was in my last year and was looking for an Apprenticeship, I’m very hands-on so Apprenticeships appealed to me more than University and while I was at a Business Breakfast Meeting presenting to a panel, CCEP were there. Someone from the Talent Acquisition Team and the Operations Manager from Sidcup. They liked my presentation so I got offered an interview and tour and I was then offered the job.
I’m enjoying the aspect of learning in the IPS Workshop, being taught techniques and then going into work and implementing them. My employer often asks what we have learnt and if we wish to go through it with them in a working environment, which is amazing. The Apprenticeship is 4 years duration and we complete NVQ L2, BTEC L3 and NVQ L3 at IPS, we also do placements around our company so we can experience how the company works and choose what is our preferred area. We attend the IPS workshop to train, which is a really good aspect of the training. I receive excellent guidance and support from my IPS Trainers, as well as working alongside experienced colleagues and getting a wealth of experienced knowledge. The learning structure is good, don’t get me wrong, when we have a few assignments due in together which can be a challenge and time consuming as you’re working as well as Apprenticeship Training but IPS and CCEP are so supportive at helping us manage our time, working with us and supporting us and if we needed a day to do some coursework CCEP would book us a room so we can complete our work. Our IPS Trainers are always on hand if we ever have any questions, whether its email, ringing or through the Moodle Training messaging service, they are always there and if they are busy, they will let us know a time they can come back to us which is brilliant and is so supportive. It’s great having the Trainers as well as our colleagues for support. I also have a mentor at work who gives advice and guidance on how to become a manager in the future, which is not in my short term career goals yet but it’s helped to build my confidence and develop my skills in leadership and management.
In addition to building engineering skills I’m learning soft skills, like time management which is a big thing for an Apprentice, I have learnt how to organise myself which means my quality of work has improved. Also, my confidence has grown and the way I communicate has improved which is so important as it’s changed since I was at school. I feel this role has made me more professional, I did have a first job, part time job in retail but I feel the Apprenticeship has given me valuable work experience and has made me more mature. It has been a big change from school to a professional environment although my school was really good at preparing us, so it was a smooth transition for me.
I love the fact that my work is always varied, I never walk into work, doing repetitive tasks, we constantly produce new products and a it’s fast paced environment, producing 90 cans per second and 80 bottles per second. My mantra is always looking for ways to improve myself, work harder and faster and meeting demand, making customers happy. I’ve actually played a role in implementing the Apprenticeships and helped with developing a scheme of work across our CCEP sites to try and make our training/learning across the company structured. I’m really happy at CCEP, they are one of the most supportive employers I could wish to work for, they really celebrate Apprenticeships. We even have an Apprentice of the Year Event that is just for employees and we get a three-day stay to a hotel in Warwick where we do different events for charity, the yearly Apprentice Graduation is held, followed by a big dinner and dance.
I discovered earlier this year that I have been nominated in the National Apprenticeship Awards and the Food and Drink Federation Awards, which are massive achievements for me. I was contacted at the end of last year and have since found out in July/August that I’m a finalist in the ‘Rising Star Award’ and the event will take place in February 2021 in London.
I have also been nominated in the ‘Apprentice of Year’ category for the National Apprenticeships Awards 2020 and I will find out if I’m a regional finalist at the end of October, which is really exciting.
I have recently started my HNC Qualification at IPS International, which will work alongside my Apprenticeship and I should finish both in 2022, I was pleased to be able to be a part of the first HNC cohort at IPS as it was agreed that Apprentice’s also had the ability to manage the additional work which was really good to hear and has given me the confidence in myself.
The HNC will give me a level 4 qualification and is a great stepping stone to achieving degree level. I always want to progress and improve on myself and my career goal is to stay at CCEP as I love it there, we are like a family and I would like to work my way to a Multiskill Line Technician or specialise in Electrical Engineering.
I would 100% recommend Apprenticeships to anyone no matter what, Apprenticeships are a great way to earn money, learn new skills and gain qualifications without the debt. My Apprenticeship experience has made me grow up and mature in more ways than I could have imagine and it’s the best way into any industry, especially an industry that is so technical and demanding. You’re gaining hands-on experience and learning on the job. I could never see myself in another company or job role going into the industry in a different way other than Apprenticeship. I always wanted to do Engineering via an Apprenticeship. I would recommend it to anyone. If you’re undecided on which to choose I would recommend looking into both Apprenticeships and University and make an educated decision, look at your finances and what your career path is going to be look like when you finish training, what tailors best to your needs. Personally, I feel Apprenticeships are the best way for advancement in the engineering field.”
We wish Amelia all the best in her Apprenticeship training and HNC, as well as Good Luck in her nominations.