Meet Luke, Mechanical Engineering Apprentice at BEL Valves

Luke joined group company, BEL Valves, in September 2022 as a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice working in both the office and manufacturing facility.

He is completing his Level 3 Engineering Design and Draughtsperson qualification, before going onto study a HNC qualification in his third and forth year of his apprenticeship.

We caught up with him to find out about his role and Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship…

What is your role and how long have you been part of the British Engines Group?

My role as a Design and Draughtsperson Apprentice is to assist the engineers on the design of valves for different applications. I am given tasks such as making amendments, or talking to customers, and working with them throughout the whole process.

How did you find out about the British Engines Apprenticeship and what about it appealed to you?

I’ve been interested in engineering for a while and I knew I wanted to find a hands on role. My mum works for British Engines as the Director of HR, she let me know when the Apprenticeship Scheme opened and encouraged me to apply for various roles across the group.

I decided to go with the role at BEL Valves because I thought it would suit me best.

It also appealed to me because as part of the Design Engineering Apprenticeship if you progress well and complete the HNC, you get the opportunity to go on to complete a degree!

What is a typical day in your role?

A typical day for me depends on whether I am in the manufacturing facility or the office. I also spend one day per week at TDR Training throughout my four year apprenticeship.

When I’m in the factory, I’m learning how to build valves by shadowing a valve technician and following standard operating procedures. I have also been learning how to ensure a valve meets its requirements through test procedures.

When I’m in the office, I work on designs to create tooling and make sure any valve drawings are standardised. I have also been given the job to respond to customer feedback by making any requested changes to valve dimensions.

Working in both the factory and the office is really beneficial. It helps me understand how things work and why the valves are drawn in a certain way when you see them being built.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Hopefully they would say that I’m a nice lad and hardworking! We all get along well and have a good time together, so I think they’d say I’m a good laugh too.

Where does your motivation come from?

I’m quite self-motivated, especially when I enjoy something. I’ve always been hands on and active when I was younger, and I loved visiting places like the George Stephenson Railway Museum and Cragside, which is the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power!

When I was around ten years-old, I built my own model combustion engine, so I guess you could say I’ve always enjoyed and been inspired by engineering in a way.

Who inspires you?

My Grandad is my biggest inspiration. He was a mechanical engineer for around 50 to 60 years and I visited his work quite a few times. Seeing what he made at work was really inspiring.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I’m always out with my friends or going to do something like playing football or the gym. I’m a big Newcastle United fan as well so if there’s a match on, I’ll be watching.

What is your favourite part of the apprenticeship?

The best part for me is the people, everyone is nice and friendly and get on really well so it’s enjoyable to work here. I think it’s important to get along with the people you work with because you spend so much time with each other, so its good that we can have a laugh together.

What is the most challenging thing about your apprenticeship?

I wouldn’t say it is challenging, however, the learning can be tough. As long as you stay up to date with deadlines and on top of your work then it’s fine.

Do you have any highlights that stand out?

My biggest highlight so far was when I got the chance to test a valve that I followed through the whole design and build process for the first time. It was really rewarding to see the whole process come together after a lot of hard work.

What are your short-term and long-term plans for your role and career?

In the short-term I’m focussing on completing my HNC in the third and fourth years of my apprenticeship. In the long-term I’d like to go on to study for a degree with the company and work my way up in roles.

Thank you for chatting to us Luke, we wish you all the best for your apprenticeship!

Find out about our apprenticeships here.