There’s no limit to where an apprenticeship can take you . . . just ask former Telford College student Jon Thursfield, who is now living the dream on the other side of the world.
Jon first learned his trade as an apprentice metrology engineer with Keysight Technologies at Halesfield, while studying mechanical engineering at the college.
The former Shifnal Idsall School student is now working as an expert laboratory technician for Keysight in Australia, the biggest accredited laboratory in the southern hemisphere.
“I chose an apprenticeship and never looked back,” said Jon, from Stirchley in Telford, who is part of a testing and measurement company with more than 30,000 customers, spread across 100-plus countries.
“There were many reasons that made me chose an apprenticeship, such as being able to learn and earn at the same time, avoiding student loans, and acquiring qualifications without any student debt.
“It was also a chance to gain hands-on experience and learn on the job from experts in their trade – strengthening my CV and giving me an edge on people from university due to the experience I would obtain.”
Jon joined Keysight’s Telford site in 2012, and through his nine years with the company, has seen his career go from strength to strength, achieving many milestones along the way.
“I began with no knowledge of calibration and no qualifications relevant to Keysight,” he said. “Now I have an HND in mechanical engineering with years of experience under my belt.
“Along the way I have transitioned from a simple lab technician to a UKAS signatory, being an assistant team leader, managing onsite visits and campaigns at other companies, and now working for Keysight Australia.”
He added: “Being able to learn and earn was one of the main attractions for me when choosing an apprenticeship.
“Year-on-year there was a steady progression in salary, and once my apprenticeship was complete I was offered a full-time job with a competitive salary.
“It has enabled me to own two of my dream cars – as well as save enough for a deposit on a house, and securing my long term future with a healthy pension.
“Never did I think that this apprenticeship would have impacted my life so much and helped me develop me into the person I am today, or to go from working on a small industrial estate in Telford, to Melbourne, Australia.
“Along the way I have made lifelong friends at work and at college, gained skills and experiences, and been in places I never would have dreamed of . . . and it’s not cost me a penny!”