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Apprenticeship Case Study: Steve Cross, Engineering Apprentice at GE Aviation

Steve Cross, Engineering Apprentice at GE Aviation

As proud champions of apprenticeships in Gloucestershire, we love sharing the success stories of our apprentices here at the College. We caught up with Steve Cross, Manufacturing Engineer Apprentice at GE Aviation to discover what made him move into engineering after 10 years in retail.

What made you choose to do an apprenticeship?

I’d worked in retail for nearly a decade and never really knew what it was that I wanted to do. As University never really appealed to me, I’d always thought that an apprenticeship would be a great route to go down as I believe learning on the job is most effective. Being a keen artist during school and in my spare time, I felt that one of my biggest strengths was attention to detail and creativeness. This combined with the eagerness to learn an entirely new skill set, I thought my artistic traits could be applied in an engineering type role.

How did you find your employer/ apply for the apprenticeship?

As I’d grown up in Cheltenham and attended Bishops Cleeve Secondary School, I’d always known of the company GE Aviation/Smiths Industries, my bus used to go past it every day and I always wondered what went on behind that tall fence. Having the local common knowledge that GE was a desirable place to work and the inquisitiveness of aircraft systems and avionics I decided to set a GE Apprenticeship as my goal.

By signing up to the GE Recruitment team and expressing my interest, I would receive email updates whenever there was a position available. When the vacancy that I felt to be the right apprenticeship role for me eventually arrived, I applied, and the rest is history!

Tell us a bit about your day-to-day job role as an apprentice, and how do you fit studying around your work commitments?

I was selected to be a Manufacturing Engineering (ME) apprentice. As you could imagine, there is a lot that I don’t know or have the authority yet to complete. However, along with shadowing my fellow team members and working closely (2 meters apart) with my line Manager, I’ve been able to soak up a lot of knowledge and gain an insight as to what it means to be an ME. I’ve been given my own tasks/projects to work on which has really proved useful, as they often require using my initiative and encourage me to communicate more with a multifunctional team.

This role has really pushed me out of my comfort zone at times and I can already see how much I’ve grown as an individual and it’s only been 6 months!

Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to enrol into this apprenticeship during a worldwide pandemic which I’ll forever be grateful for. This has in turn, meant that we’ve been in and out of lockdowns for the past year, meaning I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to complete college work. When some form of normality returns, I will ensure that I allow myself time to focus on my studies and I know that my line manager is willing to give me time as and when needed.

What is the best thing about your apprenticeship?

For me, the best thing about my apprenticeship is working alongside a variety of different people, who really are experts in their fields. I enjoy learning from people that have been in this industry longer than I’ve been living, I think its important to take their experiences and knowledge and use it in my development.

How has your line manager in the workplace and trainer/assessor at Gloucestershire College supported you through your apprenticeship?

My line Manager has been very attentive and considering he’s a very busy person, he always finds time to focus on my progression and gives me the support as and when I need it. We regularly set meetings in the calendar to ensure sufficient time is spent supporting me and ensuring I haven’t been overloaded with work.

My College Training coordinator has been very supportive, although we only hold reviews every 12 weeks, they are in depth and reassuring. I feel comfortable knowing my training coordinator has always got my back and I could turn to her if I needed.

What are your career ambitions for after you finish your apprenticeship?

As I’m only six months into my apprenticeship my ambitions aren’t particularly certain yet, however of course I’d like to be successful and hopefully land a position in the area in which I most enjoy throughout my rotations in the company. As long as I make a difference in my role and develop a broad skill set I will be happy.

Would you recommend doing an apprenticeship in your industry?

I would recommend doing an apprenticeship within the aviation industry as there is so much to learn and technology is continuously developing, I feel like this industry has a big part to play in the development of our future. I must admit, it wasn’t like I grew up with a passion for aviation however, nobody can deny the incredible work that goes into creating such an impressive rapid worldwide transportation network, allowing the economic growth, trade and tourism to flourish. I’ve got to mention how cool the military aircrafts are, the manoeuvrability and speed is insane. The significance of the aviation industry throughout our history and during the war is worth looking into.

There is such a wide range of roles within the industry such as mechanics, technicians, engineers etc. I feel like there must be something for everyone. For me, I like to be hands on and so far, that is being fulfilled in my role. For someone who is seeking a stimulating job and would like to develop a variety of skills and abilities around problem solving demands this industry has a lot to give.

Apply to become an apprentice with Gloucestershire College

If  Steve's experience has inspired you to start a career in engineering, you can apply for our apprenticeship programmes online today. Click on the links below to apply online through our website or get in touch with our friendly apprenticeship team with any questions by emailing: apprenticeshipvacancies@gloscol.ac.uk

Recruit an apprentice for your business

We have talented, prospective apprentices apply to us all year round. Our Business Hub team can help your organisation to recruit an apprentice and match you with new talent to grow your business. Explore our range of programmes and contact our team via: business.hub@gloscol.ac.uk or call: 01452 563400 to get the ball rolling.

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Why Gloucestershire College?

We have a lot of experience offering Apprenticeships and work-related training. We have industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching staff which provide the ideal complement to work-based learning.

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Ofsted has rated us good.

  • We offer industry relevant facilities
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We'll look after you. We have dedicated teams to help you and a great Learning Mentor scheme.

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