Our founder, Joseph Stannah was an exceptional engineer who turned his hand to everything from hoists and cranes to stuffing boxes for locomotives and lifts for cars. As we celebrate our 150th anniversary we continue to use Joseph Stannah’s Rules of life to shape our approach to business - Rule 6, “be in the habit of learning something from every man whom you meet” is just one of them.
It’s something that Archie McKellar who started as an apprentice in September 2014 believes in following. Archie works as a hardware apprentice in the engineering department for Stairlifts and explains what made him look for an apprenticeship with Stannah:
“I’ve always been a hands on person who likes a challenge and I really enjoyed the electronics and resistant materials classes that I was studying at school. Therefore, I thought that engineering would be the ideal industry for my career path.
It was one of my teachers that talked about the benefits of an apprenticeship instead of studying A-levels; explaining that Stannah offered some great engineering ones. He had one of his former students join Stannah and heard nothing but positive comments about it.
Working for Stannah, no two days that are the same and there are always new and exciting challenges. This keeps the job very interesting and more enjoyable. A typical day for me would usually involve responding to emails, working on electrical CAD drawings, building/modifying electronic circuits, investigating problems using specialist equipment, report writing and attending various meetings.
One of the main things I have learned from Stannah is that no challenge is ever too big to find an appropriate solution to, and to always ask questions because I then always learn something new.”
Archie has achieved a number of different qualifications including: Level 2 BTEC extended certificate, Level 2 NVQ - Performing engineering operations, Level 3 NVQ - Extended diploma in engineering technical support. As well as these qualifications, Archie is currently working towards a BTEC level 3 diploma in electrical/electronic engineering with the aim to start working towards a HND in electrical/electronics engineering before eventually studying for a degree.
Would he recommend Stannah to other young people looking for an apprenticeship or those ready to start their career in engineering?
“I would definitely recommend Stannah, everyone in the business is very friendly and always happy to help, and every employee is made to feel valued in the work they do. Be self-motivated and learn all that you can, and there are so many different progression opportunities available."
Read more about Archie’s experience at Stannah in the full interview below:
1. How long have you been working at Stannah?
Since September 2014 so almost 2 and a half years
2. What inspired you to start/join the company?
While I was studying for my GCSEs at school, it was one of my teachers that explained to me the benefits of doing an apprenticeship as oppose to going onto study A-levels. He also explained to me that Stannah offer some great engineering apprenticeships having had one of his former students successfully secure themselves an apprenticeship at the company a couple of years beforehand; he has heard nothing but positive comments from it.
In addition to this recommendation, I had also heard that Stannah was a very reputable company so I decided to go ahead and apply for one of the apprenticeship vacancies myself. There have definitely been no regrets in making this decision.
3. What made you decide to get into the engineering industry?
I’ve always been a hands on person who likes a challenge and I really enjoyed the electronics and resistant materials classes that I was studying at school. Therefore I thought that engineering would be the ideal industry for my career path. This is due to the large variety of different jobs available within this sector and there will always be a demand for engineers looking into the future. In addition to this, it is always good to know that I am positively contributing to society by working on innovative ideas and solutions.
4. What is your current role?
I am currently working as a hardware apprentice in the engineering department.
5. Can describe a typical day?
Every day I go into the office I can never know quite what to expect as there are always so many new challenges to face which is great because it really varies the activities that are to be carried out making it more enjoyable.
However a typical day for me would usually involve: responding to emails, working on electrical CAD drawings, building/modifying electronic circuits, investigating problems using specialist equipment, report writing and attending various meetings.
6. How has Stannah aided your career development?
I feel that Stannah has massively helped me develop my engineering career not only with the qualifications that I have been working towards, but with the business experience that I am gaining along the way. I am always being encouraged and motivated to work hard so that I can achieve my full potential. I am also encouraged to attend specific training courses such as how to use specialist software packages so that I can better my knowledge and work more efficiently.
7. What qualifications do you have? What are you working towards?
So far during my apprenticeship I have achieved a number of different qualifications including:
- Level 2 BTEC extended certificate
- Level 2 NVQ - Performing engineering operations
- Level 3 NVQ - Extended diploma in engineering technical support
As well as these qualifications I am currently working towards a BTEC level 3 diploma in electrical/electronic engineering.
Looking forward once these qualifications have been achieved, the next step for me will be to start working towards a HND in electrical/electronics engineering before eventually studying for a degree.
8. How has/is Stannah supported/ing this?
I feel very fortunate given the amount of support I receive from the company to help me achieve my full potential from the qualifications that I am studying for. If ever I need some extra help or advice with the work I have been given from college, I know my colleagues will be more than happy to offer support and advice if required so that I get a much better understanding of the given topic. If ever I am in need of some specific work or project tasks in order to complete some of my coursework, then my manager will be more than happy to tailor my task list to suit this requirement.
Stannah is also very keen and supportive for me to carry on my studies at degree level so this will open up a much wider range of opportunities for me to progress in my career.
9. What is the main thing you have learnt from Stannah so far?
One of the main things I have learned from Stannah is that no problem is ever too big to find an appropriate solution to and that it is always best to ask questions because I then always learn something new.
10. What is the most interesting thing you’ve come across whilst working at Stannah?
There are lots of new things that I have learned while I’ve been working at Stannah. One of the most interesting being all of the different processes and modern techniques that are used to design and manufacture effective design solutions within not only the engineering department but across the business as a whole.
11. What advice would you give to someone starting out at Stannah?
For anyone that starts off working for the company I would suggest to be as open and self motivated as possible and to learn all that you can. Everyone in the business is very friendly and always happy to help out so it’s a great opportunity for anyone to further progress their career.
12. What do you like most about working at this company?
Working for Stannah there are never two days that are the same and there are always new and exciting challenges to face. This keeps the job very interesting and more enjoyable.
13. What’s the biggest misconception you’ve come across Stannah or the industry?
Before I started working for the company, my view of engineering was very basic and would better suit the description of an assembly worker/service person if I’m honest.
I never anticipated the huge variety and the volume of work involved to turn a concept idea into a reliable functioning product that is then suitable to be released for everyday use. Although, it is slightly different to what I was initially expecting, I can say that I thoroughly enjoy it and I’m glad I’ve chosen engineering as a career path.
14. Would you recommend the company to other young people looking for a career in engineering?
I would definitely recommend Stannah to other young people that are looking for an apprenticeship to start off their career in engineering as well as those who already have the suitable qualifications and are looking for a company to start of their working career with.
This is because every employee is made to feel valued in the work from the work they do and there are so many different progression opportunities available if someone is looking for a new challenge.
Are you interested in joining Stannah as an apprentice? We would love to hear from you. It is a great way to start your career, whether you are interested specifically in engineering or just want to learn more about the business. We will support you so you can achieve your full potential. Find out more about a day in the life of a Stannah apprentice.
For more information on our apprenticeships, contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01264 364311.