We got up - close and personal with our current Apex Apprentice, Alfie Watkins... Alfie started his apprenticeship with us following receipt of his GCSEs in 2016, he has given us and future prospects an insight into what the Apex Apprenticeship experience is really like.
What made you choose to pursue a lift engineering apprenticeship? I had a general interest from the subjects I took in school and in anything that involved a hands-on experience. With some encouragement from family members who have links within the industry, I decided to apply for the lift engineering apprenticeship scheme at Apex Lifts. The information provided on the website also helped in making the decision to apply.
Why Apex Lifts? Why not!?
Describe a typical day in the Apex Workshop. Working in the Apex Workshop can change from day-to-day. I usually spent the mornings making cups of tea for everyone! Then cutting, drilling and tapping various metal components to form, for example: landing door parts, buffer stools and tension weight frames. In the afternoon, it would range from working on the bespoke lift cars to punching holes into steel frames or assembling panels to make a lift car. The late afternoon would involve cleaning the workshop of any hazards. A working day at the Apex Workshop starts at 8am and finishes at 5pm.
When did you progress to working on-site? I started to work on-site as an assitant engineer or third hand to Apex Lift Engineers after roughly 9 months into my apprenticeship, following my time spent in the Apex Workshop. I work on-site as an assistant engineer or third hand, shadowing the other engineers. It is hard work, starting at 8am and finishing at 5pm, but it is rewarding.
What do you do in the Apex Training Academy? I now visit the Apex Training Academy monthly to meet with Mark Dean, the in-house Apex Training Assesor. Mark guides me with the completion of my NVQ3 in Installation and Commissioning (Traction Lifts), and the academic work involved with achieving this. I also log all my practical activities from working in the Apex Workshop for 9 months learning about the different machinery to working as an assistant engineer on-site and applying what I have learnt to real-life situations. Alongside this, we track my progress from the start date to the expected end of my apprenticeship. Mark, my assesor is very helpful and always tries his best to make sure I am learning what I need to know and supports me in becoming the best engineer I can be.
What have you achieved as a result of partaking in the Apex Apprenticeship Scheme & Training Academy? I have obtained my PEO (Performing Engineering Operations) Units so far and completed the EOR202N which covers Working safely in an engineering environment and general lift safety, while currently being 73% through my main NVQ3.
What are your future goals and aspirations within the lift industry? I would love to work my way up to becoming a production manager, directing big construction jobs one day. Having seen some of the previous work carried out by Apex Lifts at Lloyd's of London and the Old Bailey, I would love to do the same and have the chance to work on some of London's most iconic buildings.
What has been your biggest achievement, taken from the Apex Apprenticeship Scheme & Training Academy to date? Finishing my Electrical Engineering Diploma at North West Kent College.
What would you say is your favourite part about being an Apex Apprentice? Working with the engineers as they look after you and always help you strive to become a better lift engineer. Apex Lifts is a family-run company and you can definitely tell from the close-knit staff.