After completing an apprenticeship at JDR Cable Systems in Littleport Aaron Ellis is now months from finishing his degree
PUBLISHED: 14:22 10 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:46 10 February 2020
A Little Downham man who completed an apprenticeship at JDR Cable Systems and is now months away from gaining a degree in mechanical engineering shared his story as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
Aaron Ellis joined the Littleport company as an apprentice seven years ago and will finish his mechanical engineering degree - which has been fully funded by the company - in May this year.
The 26-year-old, who went to school in Ramsey, said he first heard about JDR when he was looking for an apprenticeship online.
He said: "The apprenticeship was designed in a way that I spent the first 18 months to two years on a rotational scheme; that allowed me to gain exposure to all departments and understand how they work and fit in with each other across JDR."
Whilst on his apprenticeship at JDR, Aaron rotated through maintenance, production, project management, tendering and design teams and many more.
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"What I found was that I was best suited to design engineering," he said. "When I completed the apprenticeship, I was able to move into design engineering with the background knowledge of how our products are produced."
After completing his Level 2 engineering apprenticeship he decided to carry on with mechanical engineering and has been promoted several times across the business from Design Engineer, Senior Design Engineer, Lead Engineer and settling now in the role of Cost Estimating Lead where he is responsible for all project-related costing activity.
Aaron, who enjoys "the diverse range of work" available at JDR, says that those who are not sure which career path they want to go down should consider an apprenticeship because, "it can help match you up to what you're best suited to.
"People might think they might only ever want to be an engineer, which is not necessarily the case. Within a large organisation there's lots of opportunities to progress your career and learn new skills that you didn't think might be possible. "
He added: "The apprenticeship route has benefits in the sense of gaining a lot of experience while learning. I think a lot of people shy away from apprenticeships because they think you won't get a degree, but I'm proof that that's definitely not the case."Vicki Ashton, strategic resourcing and talent manager, said people should think about going down the apprenticeship route because it offers "the ability to be able to leave secondary school and take up further education while still being paid.
"You're not going to end up with a big student loan," she said, adding that JDR offers far more than just engineering apprenticeships.
"You can rotate around different areas of the business; we also do apprenticeships in projects, planning, finance, IT apprenticeships. There's a really diverse range."