Abdullah Bilal: first year engineering apprentice

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Abdullah Bilal is a first year Make UK apprentice who has just started a placement with Hitachi Energy in Stone, where he is training to be an electrical engineer, learning about fossil-free electricity and how it benefits different industries.

Here Abdullah shares his thoughts on why apprenticeships are a rewarding career path for young people.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed working with my hands: in school I picked construction as one of my options in year eight and nine, before going on to study plumbing in my first year at college and engineering in the second year. It can be difficult to balance work alongside education, so I decided an apprenticeship was a great way to combine the two and earn money while learning.

“I was excited to become an apprentice because it’s really different to a college environment – there are rules, but you are treated as an adult by your employers, everyone respects you and it’s just a really nice collaborative environment to work in.

“In the first year, we’re mainly training and learning the basics but next year things will move around, we will get day release to come to Make UK’s Technology Hub once a week and the rest will be spent on site with my employer. So far, I’ve done ten weeks of electrics training and worked on many other areas of the shop floor, delivering lean improvements and working on different computer aided design (CAD) tasks.

“Before I started my apprenticeship I wasn’t really interested in electrical engineering as a career but now I find it fascinating. I’ve passed all my BTEC engineering courses, and these are the equivalent of A-levels, so I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved in just my first year.”