Case Study: Maintenance Technician - Dave

What do you do?

I'm an apprentice maintenance engineer and I work for Bendicks chocolate production factory. I've only been here four months. I start college in September to do a BTEC in electrical engineering. I've been going around with the technicians, just getting to know my way around the factory and learn about all the machines that we have here. We have a lot of machines like twist-wraps and enrobers. I've been overlooking the engineers also, who get called out on breakdowns and generally repair the machines.

What is your background?

I didn't really do much engineering or electrical work at school. I went on to college not knowing what I wanted to do, I did sport, but then I realised that wasn't for me. I worked with my brother doing a bit of insulation, lagging pipes, and decided I would rather do something more hands-on. So then I found out about PETA, which is a training place. They trained me up in electrical engineering, maintenance engineering and also machining. Then, they got me my apprenticeship at Bendicks.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

The main characteristic you need to be successful in my job is communication skills. If communication's good, everything will work reasonably well. If it's not so good, then everything can work really badly.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

Probably the main work to go on and do would be electrics, like general household electrics. But we also do make a lot of tools and equipment ourselves, so I could also be a machinist.

What changes will there be in the future?

As I'm an apprentice, there will be a lot of changes as I progress through my apprenticeship. Also, being a chocolate factory, we're always changing products so we need to get in new machines to cope with different products, so we have to learn about the new machines. So it's constantly changing.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

As I've only just started, the biggest challenge is learning about everything here. There's a lot of machinery, tools and equipment that I don't really know about - it's just learning about everything.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

I think there are a few opportunities and the main one is to get in touch with training organisations and they can put you in touch with companies to get you an apprenticeship.

What do you like about your job?

I like a lot of things, but the main thing is I learn something new every day. I can come in and know that I'm going to learn something about every section of the factory. You can just know so much; even the people that are qualified are still learning, so that's the best thing about it.

What do you dislike about your job?

I've only been here four months so at the moment I'm still really enjoying it. I haven't really found anything that I dislike about my job.

What are your ambitions?

My ambitions are to obviously be a qualified engineer, do well at college, get all the qualifications I can, and go as far as possible in my career.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

You have to be sure that you are really interested and you've got to be dedicated to learn and come into work with a positive attitude, and just learn as much as you can. There are a lot of people that can teach you a lot, but if you're not willing to learn, then they won't help you. So just be interested and know that it's what you want to do.

A day in the life

8:00 am - 8:15 am

Arrive at work and clock in.

8:15 am - 11:00 am

Meet with the technician that I'm working with for the day and learn about each machine and how it works. For example, I might be looking at pumps for the chocolate tanks, enrobers (which pour the chocolate on), twist-wrap machines (which wrap the chocolates) or cooling tunnels (which cool the chocolate to the correct temperature).

11:00 am - 11:30 am

Have a break.

11:30 am - 2:00 pm

Continue to learn about the machines with an experienced technician.

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Have a lunch break.

2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Carry on learning more about the factory before clocking out and going home.

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