Oliver Hales

Oliver Hales

My name is Oliver Hales, and I successfully completed my four-year HWGTA Apprenticeship in 2009, as an employee of the Haigh Engineering Company Ltd. I now hold the title of Senior Design Engineer, as an employee of Calder Ltd, after moving jobs and location to Worcester in 2012.

At Haigh, I was responsible for the detailed manufacturing and assembly drawings of Water Treatment equipment, namely Macerating Pumps. In my role at Calder, I am responsible for the design of bespoke High-Pressure Chemical Pumping Packages, for the Oil and Gas, and Industrial sectors.

Approaching the end of my secondary school life, like many I was unsure how to proceed after leaving. Having been offered places at both Sixth Form and Art College, I then discovered a third option – the Advanced Modern Apprenticeship.

Design and Technology had been one of my favourite subjects throughout school, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking the Engineering GCSE module for years 10 and 11.

I especially liked the problem-solving elements; applying Mathematics, English, the Sciences and Creativity, to engineer working solutions to real world problems. Reflecting on this, I decided a career in Engineering could be for me.

I proceeded to attend an open day at the HWGTA Holmer Road Training School to find out more.  I was subsequently told about the Apprenticeship program in detail; how HWGTA would do their utmost to pair prospective Apprentices with local employers, how the first year would be spent at the training school learning the underpinning principles, and how the remaining three years would be spent earning while you learn with your employer. During the Apprenticeship I would also work towards the completion of an NVQ level three, and a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering (HNC).

Following the HWGTA intake exam and interview process, I was offered a Design Apprenticeship by Haigh, starting that September, including a competitive Apprentice salary. Not believing my luck I duly accepted! The first year at the training school was one of the best of my life to date; I spent that year with a great group of likeminded apprentices, learning essential skills, which would stand me in good stead for the remaining years of my apprenticeship, and long into my working life.

The final three years saw me developing skills further with my employer, while attending college on a day release basis. The culmination of this learning period prepared me for the world of work post apprenticeship, and my hard work paid off, with Haigh offering a full time position in the Design Office after completion.

I believe HWGTA, combined with my first employer, gave me the best possible start to my working life, providing me with the relevant education and continued support to ensure a successful start in my career.

The Apprenticeship route provides excellent academic and vocational training, all while earning an income and avoiding large student debts. I now believe myself to be very employable, in a competitive market, due to the skills and experience gained during my apprenticeship.

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