UKWF member apprentices weigh up the benefits of an apprenticeship in legal metrology10th Feb 2021
As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, there may be many young people who haven’t considered a career in the weighing industry when looking for their placement, but it’s certainly not one to pass up. With weights and measures playing a key role in all areas of industry as well as our everyday lives, you’ll struggle to find a part of life that doesn’t require accurate weighing.
Graham Spink, President of the UK Weighing Federation, comments: “The weighing industry has changed rapidly in recent years – it’s no longer just about supplying weighing equipment. Digitalisation and the influx of IT solutions and innovations means legal metrology has become a critical part of most production processes for numerous industries including food, medical, automotive, and retail, to name just a few. Having accurate, reliable, and innovative weighing equipment to support business operations has never been so important.
“This all makes the weighing industry a perfect place for apprentices to map out a career path with lots of opportunities, not just in engineering. Our members are a mix of SME’s, national, and international businesses, all of which have apprentices in a variety of roles throughout their company, including admin, finance, research and development and software engineering – with such a wide range of learning opportunities, it’s certainly an industry young people should consider.”
While apprenticeships in the weighing industry are currently ran successfully by individual companies, who tie in with local colleges and universities, the UK Weighing Federation is working with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to develop a dedicated apprenticeship scheme for the weighing industry to encourage more young people to join the sector, as Graham explains:
“We’ve been working with the NPL for some time now to develop a dedicated training scheme that has bespoke legal metrology related CPD and a weighing focused pathway to attract even more new talent into the industry. While we are still a little way off completion, we hope this additional offering will encourage more young people to see an apprenticeship in weighing as the ideal start to their careers.”
We asked some of our members’ apprentices, who are working across the weighing industry in the UK today, why an apprenticeship at a weighing company was the right choice for them and here’s what they had to say…
Oliver started his apprenticeship as a software engineer after completing A-Levels. He commented:
“I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship as I felt I was ready to begin my journey in business. After finishing my A-Levels, I believed I was well-equipped to start working in a business as part of a team. I wanted to get started in work sooner rather than later and an apprenticeship gives me the ability to experience life at work whilst also expanding my education.
“Developing software for scales is intriguing and engaging. I often find myself needing to use creative solutions to solve problems I encounter. I am also able to get creative and artistic when designing user interfaces.”
Callum, who is completing an engineering apprenticeship, liked the idea of doing something not everyone does:
“I knew I wanted to do an apprenticeship in mechanical and electrical engineering, so my college suggested I apply for one at a weighing scale company. The industry sounded different, not something most apprentices do every day, so I jumped at the chance. In today’s world almost everything has to be weighed before it’s sold or transported, so I knew there would be loads of opportunities to work with different industries.”
Daniel is completing an apprenticeship in finance and is currently studying towards his Level 3 AAT qualification. He commented:
“I wanted to do an apprenticeship because I knew I didn’t want to go through the University route, I decided on an apprenticeship because you get the same high standard of learning as well as valuable work-based experience that you otherwise wouldn’t get. This benefits me as I’m able to put the knowledge I’m gaining into practice which in turn helps further my learning.”
Josh, who has completed his apprenticeship in production engineering, explains why he’s pleased he opted for a career in weighing:
“Working for a weighing company has surprised me as I never knew how much you could actually learn, and you don’t realise how many aspects there are to it which not many people know about.
“When going into an apprenticeship my preference was actually automotive, however looking back, I think if I would have chosen a different pathway then the amount of knowledge that I’d have wouldn’t be anywhere near as I have now. Weighing is so important in our day to day lives in many ways which people don’t realise and it is great to be involved in the production process.”