Next in our showcase of apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week 2022, meet Jacob Gale, an Electrical Technician Apprentice with Reaction Engines.

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

My burning desire to work in the Aerospace Industry first came about during my years at secondary school; I found myself deeply fascinated with physics. I realised I had to find a way to contribute to the new spark if interest in Space travel and the idea of humans becoming a spacefaring civilisation. Around this time there was a significant push from this sector and in many others to create apprenticeships, it became the seemingly obvious choice.

What is your day-to-day role like, has it changed much due to the pandemic?

A typical day in my role sees me obtaining electrical drawings and CAD designs of control systems and subassemblies, ordering required components then using the tools and facilities provided in the DICE lab to solder, wire, build and program a complete unit. With my role being so hands on I have seen little to no change due to the pandemic.

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

One of the first projects I was heavily involved in was the Ammonia Reactor and Hydrogen burner that combines the process of cracking ammonia into its Hydrogen and Nitrogen components of which the hydrogen can then be burned as fuel for almost any conceivable aircraft. The idea of integrating both the reaction and burning processes and retrofitting to aircraft is completely novel and can have a significant impact on meeting zero carbon emission within the aerospace industry (which accounts for 12% of all transport emissions). During the testing phase I was responsible along with 2 others for providing the means of data acquisition and control of the tests.

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

Without a doubt the best thing about my apprenticeship is the sheer number of top players in the commercial, defence and private sectors of the aerospace industry we are currently in communication with. The most surprising aspect of this role is the number of challenges and unforeseen problems that are incurred when developing and testing cutting edge technologies.

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

I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is looking to rapidly progress their career. It provides you with the means and foundation to network with people already involved and is a structured route to achieving your goals. In my eyes apprenticeships will become the backbone of continuous improvement and advancement in all technical fields in the UK.

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

Just go for it, apply to all companies that have an involvement in the industry you’d like to have a career in, don’t be afraid to go for the top companies. But additionally, don’t be disheartened if you don’t end up at one of your top company’s. Desire and passion will open many doors; having a head start on a majority of people makes you far more desirable to any prospective employers.

Find out more about apprenticeships with Reaction Engines here: