In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we hear from Apprentice Mechatronics Maintenance Technician Maisie Robe, who has hit the ground running since starting her apprenticeship with Bachy Soletanche just over a year ago. Maisie shares her perspective on being an apprentice at Bachy Soletanche and what has been key to her success so far….

When did you start your apprenticeship with Bachy Soletanche?

I’m currently completing a Mechatronics Maintenance Technician Level 3 Apprenticeship with Bachy Soletanche, which I began in September 2022. I spent my first year training down at MGTS college in Coventry and I’ve now moved on to working at Bachy Soletanche’s Plant Yard in Burscough, Lancashire, where I’ll be spending the remaining three years of my apprenticeship. This involves putting what I’ve learnt at college into action and building up my plant maintenance skills.

How did you know an apprenticeship was right for you?

I’ve always been better at learning by doing and being hands-on. I never got on too well being in a classroom. There’s nothing quite like being at the Plant Yard fully immersed in an activity–I find that’s the way I learn best.

What interested you in plant maintenance specifically?

My dad is a civil engineer and when I was younger, he was always driving diggers and talking to me about his work so he played a major part in inspiring my career choice. I already had some exposure to the industry but I was completely new to ground engineering and mechatronics.

How have you found the transition from college to work life?

It’s a big step and challenging at first but you get used to it. Taking on an apprenticeship forces you to get into a routine and stay organised. It was an adjustment to go from college to then balancing both full-time work and studies. However, everyone at Bachy Soletanche is there to help and listen. They understand that as an apprentice, you need more support than others. The company also give me time to complete any necessary college work during my working week.

What’s a typical day in the life of an apprentice mechatronics maintenance technician?

After arriving at the Plant Yard, I attend the daily Toolbox Talk meeting to find out my jobs for the day before I then go and find all the necessary tools. I’m currently going down the electrical route so that involves tasks such as installing new systems onto our rigs and fixing any electrical faults on machinery that has returned from our project sites.

What have you gained from the apprenticeship experience so far?

Being an apprentice helps set you up for working life and provides you with many career opportunities early on. I’m constantly in a learning frame of mind so I soak up so much knowledge from the people around me. I’m surrounded by people who have so much experience that they pass down to me. My colleagues will often show me more efficient ways of completing tasks, which saves a lot of time.

What have been some of the biggest highlights of your apprenticeship so far?

Last year, I won the BTEC 1st Year Recognition Award from my college for my hard work and commitment to my apprenticeship, as well as the rapid improvement I made within my first year. In addition to this, I was nominated for the Best Plant Technician prize at the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association) Stars of the Future Awards 2023. It was fantastic to receive this recognition from my college and a leading industry body.

What would you say is key to succeeding in your role?

As well as being organised and managing your time, first of all, it’s important to choose an apprenticeship that you’re interested in. If you enjoy your field of work, you naturally engage more and want to apply yourself, which inevitably leads to success.

Do you know what you’d like to do once you finish your apprenticeship?

I would love to stay within this team as my colleagues are all lovely to be around and are so supportive. It’s an interesting job as it’s always changing and the work is never repetitive. I enjoy problem-solving so it’s a great fit for me.

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