When Albacom expanded their capabilities into machining in 2016, they identified a need to hire apprentices to expand and grow alongside their machining capabilities.
Michael Spink and Fergus Lyon joined the experienced team at Albacom in June 2017 to begin their Engineering Systems apprenticeship.
Marketing Assistant, Rebecca Allan caught up with them both to find out how they are both settling into life as an Albacom apprentice.
R: Fergus and Michael, you’ve been with Albacom for three months now, can you tell me a bit about how your apprenticeship with Albacom is going so far?
M: We’re off to a great start! The past few months have been challenging and rewarding. I’ve learned about manual machining and potting: a process that creates a protective and insulated coating for electrical components in an aircraft. My knowledge of CNC machining has also improved and I hope to build on this further over my three year apprenticeship. I’m learning new things everyday which is really motivating for me.
F: It has been a great experience so far. We go to Dundee and Angus college one day per week to work for the formal qualification, and the rest of the time we’re in the workshop. To start with I was focussed on machining, but have recently moved onto welding. I like getting my hands dirty and I’m really enjoying learning different types of skills in the workshop, that support the classroom based parts of the course.
R: What have you enjoyed the most so far?
M: I’m really enjoying working in an engineering environment, as this has been a goal of mine since a young age. Some of the team have been with Albacom for thirty years or more and that amount of knowledge and skill is really inspirational to me as start out on my career.
F: I’ve really enjoyed being given the responsibility of working on my own project for one of Albacom’s Lifting division customers. This has given me the opportunity to exercise my project management skills and work to deadlines, whilst having the autonomy to make my own decisions.
R: What is your favourite thing about being part of the Albacom team?
M: Without a doubt, my favourite thing is the work ethic. Everyone works together as a team and strives to achieve the same goals. It’s hard to really understand that when in a classroom, but being part of a team is really important to me.
F: The diversity of jobs that come through the door. The team have a varied range of skills and I like the idea of being stretched and challenged. I would also agree with Michael, that we have a really great team here who have supported us both since day one.
R: Have you had to overcome any challenges so far?
M: Learning the necessary skills to become a competent machinist was rather daunting at first, but the support of the experienced team around me helped to give me confidence. It’s only month three and I feel I’ve learned so much already – I can’t even imagine what my answer to this will be when I complete my apprenticeship in three years time!
F: I found it challenging when I started to work on my own project. Having to make my own decisions without someone telling me what to do at each stage took a bit of getting used to! However, I think that this has really helped me to develop and gain confidence in my technical abilities.
Ronnie Mackenzie, Surface Engineering and Machining Supervisor and Inspector who directly manages Fergus and Michael commented on the progress they are both making: “Both Fergus and Michael are enthusiastic, hardworking and willing to learn; qualities which make them a very welcome addition to the Albacom team. I look forward to helping them develop their skills and confidence throughout the remainder of their apprenticeship, and have no doubt that they will both go far in their engineering careers.”