On the right path


Contributing Editor Steed Webzell speaks with James Moloney, an ambitious third-year apprentice at NCMT, about his pathway into engineering and future goals.

James Moloney, like many youngsters as they approach the end of their school years, was not set on a particular career. Undecided about his future, he showed maturity beyond his years by opting to complete his sixth form.

“That time was precious as it allowed me to think,” he states. “It was either university or an apprenticeship and I chose the latter. When I looked into careers, engineering stood out as it was hands-on and there were many skills I could learn.”

Successful in his application to join the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) in Coventry, James soon received a list of companies seeking apprentices. He signed on the dotted line with NCMT, the UK’s exclusive representative of Okuma and Makino machine tools. Spending his first year full time with MTC Training, the second year saw James enter industry at NCMT.

“I have to write job reports every 10 weeks and obtain regular witness testimonies, where a member of staff at NCMT watches me perform an engineering task to the required level,” he explains. “I’ll use that as evidence for my end-point assessment at the conclusion of my apprenticeship.”

During his second year, James returned regularly to MTC Training, completing Level 3 units like Mechanical Principles, Materials and Measurement. He is currently in his third year, Level 4 HNC, revisiting MTC Training for two-week blocks every couple of months.

“Once I’ve finished my apprenticeship I’ll likely become an applications engineer, but it’s not definite yet,” he says. “That’s the good thing about my apprenticeship at NCMT, they engage me in a variety of roles across the business, which lets me get familiar with different departments to see what I enjoy and discover my strengths. I’ve had amazing support from NCMT since day one.”

He concludes: “I would encourage anyone thinking about an apprenticeship to go for it. You get to learn many new skills and pick up a wage at the same time. Another huge positive for me personally is the chance to get hands-on. I doubt that I’d get anywhere near the same level of practical experience at university.”

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