Next, meet Andrew Smyth, a Manufacturing Trainee Apprentice with Thales Alenia Space in Belfast.

What made you want to pursue a career in the sector and an apprenticeship?

I was interested in the diverse range of projects and programmes we do here at Thales and the opportunities to work with different departments and people.

What is your day to day role like?

I am currently working with Thales Alenia Space on the electrical assembly side of things. My day to day work is building wiring looms and then assembling them with other electrical components on the satellite and thrusters.

Have you worked on any interesting projects / programs during your apprenticeship?

My current project has been my most interesting to date for sure. I have built a number of looms from scratch that I have also fitted to the tanks that hold the xenon gas for the satellite; part of that work has also been to route my cable assembly’s onto the lower panel. It’s amazing to me that one day all that work will be floating around up there in space.

What has been the best thing about your apprenticeship, has anything surprised you?

The best thing about the apprenticeship so far has been the diverse range of work that you are able to get involved in. I was surprised in my first year when I was given three months experience in four different areas; Methods, Machine shop, Fitting and Electrical. This provided a great base knowledge and understanding of how the company worked and gave me insight into where I would want to work in my second year.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship?

I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone looking to further their career, it’s an unbelievable opportunity to develop skills and knowledge with hands on experience alongside the education and qualification you will receive.

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship?

Just do it, you’ll not look back. It’s a brilliant experience and you earn while you learn, it’s the best of both worlds.