First up in this week’s series for National Apprenticeship Week, Noah Spence, apprentice at JJ Churchill shares his experience as an apprentice.

My name is Noah Spence, and I am a third‐year apprentice training/working at JJ Churchill as a craft apprentice.

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

By pursuing an apprenticeship within this sector has widened my view on the aerospace industry and the types of process that are required to produce flight‐worthy components. By entering the industry as an apprentice has allowed me to experience many areas of the business, which has given me a wide range of skills and techniques, that can be applied anywhere in the business. I wanted to pursue a career within this sector due to my previous level 1,2 and 3 engineering qualifications at my previous colleges. These years have helped me gain a clear understanding of what engineering sector I wanted to go into.

What is your day‐to‐day role like and has it changed much due to the pandemic?

My day‐to‐day role has not changed dramatically but have found that I am being involved in bigger and more critical tasks that have given me a stronger understanding of the types of challenges that others face on a day‐to‐day basis. Obviously with social distancing and COVID 19 measures certain things have been challenging, but the business has implemented many measures that have eased these types of challenges to keep everyone in safe and healthy condition.

Have you worked on any interesting projects/programmes during your apprenticeship and can you provide details with any details of the work?

Since arriving back from furlough last May, I have been given the opportunity to organise and run a process and cost‐saving project that has shown to save the company thousands once implemented into the business. The project was to replace a type of grinding wheel with a more sustainable and efficient diamond grinding wheel. With the current abrasive having to have the form cut onto it each cycle via a diamond roll means that the process is longer than required. By replacing this abrasive wheel with the diamond wheel would instantly remove the use of the diamond roll for that particular wheel.

The main objectives for this project were as follows.


  • Decrease overall wheel change time and dressing time.
  • Decrease the overall consumable spend for grinding wheels.
  • Decrease the cost of the operation.
  • Increasing the accuracy and, decreasing the amount of re‐work and scrap


What has been the best thing about your apprenticeship?

The best thing about my apprenticeship has been the fact that JJ Churchill has allowed me to visit all areas of the business to give me a clear understanding of how well the business is run. The second thing would be the fact that they have given me the opportunity to run a very highly important project and to gain the experience that not many apprentices would receive.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to people looking to make a first step in their career, and why?

I would definitely recommend to any individual that apprenticeships are the way forward as it gives them the foundations to become an all‐rounded individual in whatever sector they choose. By delving into a specific sector helps create a tunnel vision effect which gives you a real focus on what you want to achieve and what are you want to go into.

What is your advice to someone who would like to join an apprenticeship scheme in the sector?

My advice to any individual that would want to join the aerospace industry would be to take notes on everything that has been learnt on a day‐to‐day basis, as there is so much information that can be obtained by all the experience within the industry. Another point would be to push for the opportunity to visit all areas of the business to broaden your knowledge of the industry and the types of processes that are used to achieve flight‐worthy components.

To find out what else is coming up this week, please read our National Apprenticeship Week 2021 blog