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Engineering apprentices mentor local students

2 Telford College apprentices working with students from Haberdashers' Abraham Darby School

Engineering apprentices from Telford College have been mentoring students from a local secondary school to help them complete their GCSE coursework.

Year 11 students from Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby School in Madeley have paid two visits to the college’s Wellington campus, using the engineering centre to help make a seat clamp as part of their studies.

The visit also gave them experience on the college’s industry-standard machinery and hand tools to boost their CVs, and help with a future apprenticeship or college interview.

Mechatronics apprentices from Telford packaging solutions firm i2r, and Muller dairy in Market Drayton, gave up their own time to help the students use machinery, supervised by staff.

Alison Fellows, engineering lecturer at Telford College, said: “Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby School contacted us because they have such a good engineering department and current year group.

“We’re able to give these students an opportunity to experience things they wouldn’t normally have, as well visiting a college workshop for themselves.”

“The students’ behaviour has been exemplary – they’ve so been keen and eager to learn. It’s been an absolute pleasure, and we hope to see some familiar faces in the years to come.”

Lisa Odams, design and technology teacher from Haberdashers’ Abraham Darby School, said: “This has been really useful. It’s given our students hands-on experience, as well as seeing what a college is like.

“It breaks down that barrier where they’ve been a bit too frightened to apply, but now that they’ve visited and seen what’s going on, they’re extremely keen to apply.

“Having the apprentices here is extremely important as our students can speak to people who’ve been in their position, discover how they’ve found college and the apprenticeship system, whilst helping them with their work and passing on skills first-hand to the next generation.”

One of the apprentices who gave up time was Harry Rumbles, Telford College’s current Apprentice of the Year, who is on a mechatronics maintenance engineering apprenticeship with dairy company Muller.

1 Harry Rumbles, left, demonstrates how to use a lathe
Harry Rumbles, left, demonstrates how to use a lathe

The former Newport Burton Borough School student said: “It’s really important as we’re instructing the next group of engineers here.

“It’s good that they’re already doing a GCSE in engineering, and chatting to these guys I gather that they’re really interested in studying it further and starting to look at careers or apprenticeships.

“A lot of them haven’t had the practical experience in it yet, but they’re getting it here. For me, that’s where I thought the disconnect between GCSEs and further education was.

“At their age, I didn’t realise how much practical work there was, and I wasn’t in tune with what a career in the trade would actually be like.”

He added “I’ve really enjoyed these workshops; they’re different to what I’m used to. I see a lot of students here who have a similar knowledge base to what I had when I was their age.

“It’s nice to see how far I’ve come too. If I have the abilities to teach them something, it’s gives me confidence in my own progression.”