Ricki’s interest in becoming a professional welder was first sparked as a 17-year-old whilst studying fabrication and welding at Hereford Technology School in his home town of Grimsby. Encouraged by his parents, Ricki progressed to the Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education, and successfully completed a Level 1 Performing Engineering Operations (PE01) in fabrication and welding.
During the course, Ricki heard about the ECITB welding apprenticeship and didn’t hesitate to make an application. He felt he had the right attributes for the profession:
a welding apprentice, for example, needs to be comfortable working at heights, have good eyesight and be physically fit. Welding also demands absolute concentration, and good handto-eye co-ordination.
In the first year, Ricki’s course timetable sees him based five days a week at the lmmingham CATCH Centre. His group works on a range of welding tasks, sharing their experiences with the class and recording each exercise in a log. At the end of the year, their knowledge of welding theory is tested through written exams. They are also evaluated on vital areas such as health and safety, first aid and scaffolding.
The welding apprenticeship mixes classroom study with practical welding tasks, all under the watchful eye of a learning facilitator. "I'm dyslexic, so I was dreading the written part of the course, but if there's anything I'm not sure about, I can ask my facilitator, who is really supportive," says Ricki.
Ricki is now half way through his first year of the three year course and well on his way to achieving his dream career.
Next year, Ricki will move on to real life welding projects in the field with his sponsors, Stallingborough based BIS O'Hare Engineering.