Alan Proud’s engineering apprenticeship led him to improve the lives of people with disabilities

Alan Proud left school after one year of A Levels to do an Engineering Apprenticeship. He earned a salary, learned key skills, got qualifications and now he improves the lives of people with disabilities. This is his story.

Young people are being asked to ‘Look Beyond’ the traditional routes into employment and explore the diverse career options now available through apprenticeships.

Alan Proud’s journey with Peacocks Medical Group has been highlighted by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s This Is Engineering campaign. The 28-year-old from Newcastle is a senior orthotic technician and makes surgical splints and braces for people with disabilities. He says what he enjoys most about his job is being able to make a difference in patients’ lives.

Why did you go down the apprenticeship route?

An apprenticeship really appealed to me because it allowed me to earn money whilst learning a new skill. I knew this would be right for me as I wasn’t very academic and preferred to be busy and creative.

What qualifications did you have beforehand?

The qualifications I had prior to my apprenticeship were GCSEs, as well as an AS level in design tech and IT. However, after one year of A level I found that an apprenticeship was more suited to me.

Why would you recommend an apprenticeship in engineering?

I would recommend an apprenticeship in engineering because it will give you the chance to earn while you learn. At the end you come away with qualifications and experience within the job, which is what employers want. This can also lead to a full-time job.

Was there anything that surprised you about an apprenticeship?

The main thing that surprised me about an apprenticeship was that it didn’t feel like what you’re used to in school. You are in a workplace surrounded by workers, learning skills that you can’t learn in school sitting behind a desk.

What would you say to others thinking about a career in engineering?

I would say do it and I promise you’ll not look back.

What engineering myth would you like to bust?

It’s not just people in hard hats on a construction site. Engineering is all around us, from our computers and TVs to someone like me, making surgical splints to help people walk and to improve their way of life.

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The Government continues to call on employers and teachers to promote apprenticeships as viable career routes for young people, and the diverse benefits this unique type of training can offer.

One of the sectors that offers a range of exciting apprenticeship opportunities and careers is the engineering sector.

There are plenty of misconceptions about jobs in engineering, with only around one third of parents understanding what engineers do.

Through the Engineering: Take A Closer Look campaign, young people aged 11-16, their teachers and parents can learn more about what it takes to forge a career in the field – and the different routes in from graduate to vocational.

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