apprenticeships ecitb

Member Article

The original apprentice

Malcolm Wall began his four-year apprenticeship at the age of 16 in 1989. Over the last twenty years, he has seized the opportunities that an ECITB Apprenticeship gave him access to. Malcolm is now a Project Engineering Manager with AMEC and has recently completed his latest qualification: a Masters degree in Project Management.

The ECITB Experience

Starting as an Apprentice at NETA Training in Stockton-on-Tees in 1989, Malcolm completed three months of rotational training across the various trades available, and then moved on to specialise in a particular field. Malcolm chose to become a Plater and spent the next eighteen months learning the intricacies and techniques of the craft.

Malcolm said; “On the first day, I walked into NETA and met the other new apprentices. I could tell by their accents that they were from all areas of the country. They were a great set of characters and we all got on really well. I have loads of fabulous memories of being one of the ‘89/91’ NETA posse.”

“During our time at NETA we also attended collage at Longlands in Middlesbrough where we completed our City and Guilds and BTEC qualifications. I finished my time at NETA in 1991 and started at Redpath Engineering Services on site in Teesside, where I completed periods both on-site and in the Fabrication workshops working on large scale oil, gas and chemical Projects. Two years of training at NETA had made my confidence soar which came in very handy in a real life working environment, and the confidence that I gained in those days has benefited me ever since.”

“After I completed my ECITB Apprenticeship in 1993, I decided to enrol full time at Northumbria University in Newcastle to study Mechanical Engineering. Graduating four years later I immediately landed my first professional job as an Engineer with Foster Wheeler at their HQ in Reading.”

“The fact that I had completed an ECITB Apprenticeship prior to my degree definitely played an important part in differentiating me from the others who applied for the job – it certainly helped me to secure the role.”

The Result

After having successfully completed his ECITB Apprenticeship and subsequent degree, Malcolm found a world of opportunity had opened up to him in the Engineering Construction Industry. His first job with Foster Wheeler was to last for five years including a six month work placement in Oman in the Middle East working to build a gas terminal for Shell.

“Working on such a large project for 15 months was an interesting and challenging, but really exciting, experience!” said Malcolm. “In Oman I found out that I had been accepted onto a post-graduate diploma course in Enterprise Management at Durham University.”

“After Durham, I returned to Foster Wheeler as a Design Engineer on a team tasked with the fast-track build of a pharmaceutical plant. Doing this was when I got my first experience working as a multi-disciplined Project Engineer and I gained valuable design experience. The support from AMEC and from the ECITB has been excellent.”

In 2002, Malcolm accepted a position as Project Engineer in AMEC’s rapidly expanding design team, becoming a Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Mechanical Engineer and receiving a promotion to Project Engineering Manager in 2003.

“I am now a Project Manager within AMEC’s Major Projects division, and I was recently elected to become a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, as well as having recently completed a Masters Degree in Project Management at UMIST.”

“The ECITB plays an important role in the Industry and I have received first rate advice and training from them over the last twenty years which has helped my career to flourish. Now, I’m very pleased to see a new set of ECITB Apprentices coming through. I’m sure the ECITB will help them, as it has done with me, to establish a steady first foothold and fruitful career in Engineering and Project Management.”

Small & medium enterprises apprenticeship incentives

In light of the need to train people now, and the lack of in-scope companies with the capacity to employ apprentices, the ECITB is supporting an initiative launched by the National Apprenticeship Service to encourage small & medium enterprises (SMEs) to take on apprentices in England.

The scheme, Apprenticeship Grants for Employers (AGE), has been backed by the Government and will offer grants of £1,500 to up to 40,000 SMEs prepared to take on their first apprentice.

For more information on this initiative please visit or telephone Don Atkinson, North East Regional Account Manager for ECITB on 07971438720.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Don Atkinson .

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