Project Description

“If you’re passionate about what you want to study and interested in the field, then it’s definitely worth taking the opportunity.”

Cailey Miller is a 21 year-old Mechanical Designer working for Nuvia UK in Warrington. Focused primarily on the Nuclear Industry, the organisation has been involved in some of the most diverse, complex, and challenging projects across the globe.

We spoke to Cailey about how an apprenticeship opened up a world of opportunities and experiences.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

“I chose the apprenticeship route for the chance to ‘earn while you learn’. The opportunity to work alongside experienced industry professionals and gain practical work experience is such a fantastic stepping stone for anyone wanting to build a career in any industry. Developing those key skills whilst also obtaining professional qualifications on a part-time basis can significantly improve your career prospects, with the added benefit of being debt-free at the end!”

Tell us about your experience as an apprentice

“NUVIA UK offered a unique apprentice programme where candidates could apply from the age of 16. As a result, I started my apprenticeship in September 2018 after finishing school in June of that year.

“I spent a year at college, full time in a workshop environment for 80% of the week, gaining invaluable knowledge about the manufacturing processes that would enable me to design with manufacturability in mind.

“In the second year of the apprenticeship, I started in the design office working on live engineering projects and learning about the fundamentals of engineering design.

“For 20% of each week, I studied part time at college, starting off with a Level 3 BTEC in Mechanical Engineering for two years, before moving onto a Level 4 HNC in the same field of study.

“On completion of my apprenticeship, I have continued my further education, currently working towards a Level 5 HND in Mechanical Engineering with the hopes of moving to do a BEng and MSc.”

That’s quite an impressive start to your career

“I won’t lie to you and say it has been an easy ride, but the rewards at the end and even along the way certainly make the journey worthwhile.

“Growing up I was always told – “you get out what you put in”. By adopting this mindset I definitely feel that the effort I have put in has opened the door to so many fantastic opportunities for both professional and personal development.”

 What have been your career highlights so far?

 “I’ve had a number of career highlights, most recently being awarded the 2022 ECITB Apprentice of the Year!

“As I write this, I am on the train to Parliament to take part in an Apprenticeship Fair for Nuclear Week.

“In 2021, I qualified for, and competed in the WorldSkillsUK National Finals in Mechanical Engineering CAD, which resulted in me winning the silver medal.

“I was also subsequently invited to join the SquadUK in 2022, for a chance to compete in the WorldSkills International Skills Competition.

“As a STEM Ambassador I’ve also had the opportunity to visit various schools and deliver presentations about all things STEM, Nuclear and Apprenticeships, with the hope of inspiring the next generation!”

Do you think your apprenticeship has equipped you with lifelong skills?

“Apprenticeships can be a real catalyst for personal and professional development. There are so many transferrable skills that can be gained from an apprenticeship, including critical thinking, decision making, and communication skills. Having these skills and abilities can really help your career progression, which all begins at the start of your apprenticeship.” 

Do you think apprenticeships are important for the future?

“Apprenticeships are important for the future of any industry. They are beneficial to both the employer and the apprentice. Apprenticeships give businesses the opportunity to shape and mould the future of their workforce in alignment with the company’s ethos and core values.

“It also provides them with the chance to strengthen their capabilities in focussed areas that the business has identified.

“Another benefit is the diversity that is created when young people from a variety of backgrounds are engaged.”

If you could give one piece of advice to your 15-16 year-old self what would it be?

“One piece of advice I’ve benefited from is that you mustn’t be afraid of asking questions, regardless of how silly you think it is. Asking questions is the most efficient way to learn.

“When people can see your enthusiasm and that you care about your work, they are much more likely to invest their time to help you develop.

“At such an early age it can be daunting to make a decision that could affect the next few years of your life.

“It’s important to remember though, that if you’re passionate about what you want to study and interested in the field, then it’s definitely worth taking the opportunity.

ECITB Apprenticeships