Apprenticeships are different National Apprenticeship week at Integral Powertrain. Look Beyond and make an impact

Apprenticeships are different | Learn what some of our trail blazers think

Apprenticeships are different.

You get to learn and earn, trained up by the people you work with, and all your training is paid for, so you’re shaping your career from day one. Apprenticeships are making a difference and are an excellent way to start a career, particularly in engineering where education can be immediately put into practice in live, real-world working environments.

National Apprentice Week is a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships with this year’s theme “Look Beyond” celebrating how diverse apprenticeships have become and their value both to the apprentice and to businesses.

As part of our long-term growth plans, Integral Powertrain Ltd (IP) are committed to offering more apprenticeships both in our engineering and manufacturing functions and across the wider business. To inspire others to consider an apprenticeship, we would like to share the stories so far of two of our own apprentices.

Adam Hornett

Adam started his apprenticeship with IP in September 2019 as an Engineering Build Technician. He is combining his Level 3 Engineering course at Milton Keynes College with two days per week in our electric motor build workshop.

Integral Powertrain Apprentice Adam Hornett honing his lathe turning skills
Integral Powertrain Apprentice Adam Hornett honing his lathe turning skills

What is a typical day for you at IP?

A typical day currently consists of observing my colleagues assembling parts of the motor so I can gain an understanding of what goes into the motor, it may also include machining parts on the lathe for different jobs and some basic assembly work, depending on what tasks there are for that day.

What interested you about becoming an apprentice?

I was interested in becoming an apprentice as it was going to teach me the practical skills that are required to be able to the job, whilst earning. This for me was intriguing as I knew that a university or a college course wasn’t going to teach me the necessary skills to just get on with the work once I was employed. Due to this, an apprenticeship appeared to be the best option for me.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at IP?

The part I have enjoyed the most about the apprenticeship would be the people that I am working with, this is because there is always something to smile or laugh about while working with them.

What have you found most challenging and how you have overcome this?

The foundation knowledge questions at college have been the hardest part of the apprenticeship due to my current lack of knowledge on how to use machines such as lathes. To overcome this, I have been asking my mentor and the Team in the build shop for help on different machining information and various machining techniques.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Learning how to use the lathe as I had never used one before starting the apprenticeship, now I am able to use one competently and work to extremely tight tolerances.

How has working at IP helped you to develop?

IP has helped me to gain the practical skills needed to work on machinery and taught me how an electric motor goes together. As I’m only on site 2 days a week during the first year of my apprenticeship, I haven’t been able to fully assemble a motor but have gained a basic understanding of how they go together.

What is the most valuable skill you have learned so far?

Over the few months I have been with IP the most valuable skill I have learned is to be able to use the lathe. It enables me to make dedicated tooling and parts as required for our prototype manufacturing.

What are you studying as part of your apprenticeship?

As a part of my apprenticeship I am working towards a Level 3 in Engineering at Milton Keynes College.

What are your ambitions once you have completed your apprenticeship?

After I complete my apprenticeship, I would like to further my career with IP building electric motors.

Alex Cotton

Alex recently completed his apprenticeship with Integral Powertrain and is currently working in their Emissions and Driveline Test Facility as a Test Technician.

Integral Powertrain Apprentice Alex Cotton firing up the 4WD dynamometer
Integral Powertrain Apprentice Alex Cotton firing up the 4WD dynamometer

What is a typical day for you at IP?

Before we can run any customer testing, it is essential to follow the daily start-up procedures. Just like a pilot, I have a series of warm-up tests and settings I must check and validate before the client arrives. Once the gas analysers and dynamometer (rolling road) are verified, the required vehicle test procedure is set in the system. I can then commence testing by following a set drive trace using the vehicle’s controls, ensuring the correct logging of data and certifying the results with the client. This sounds quite simple, but each test takes about an hour, so I am busy all day! It’s fun though as you do get to sit inside some awesome cars.

What interested you about becoming an apprentice?

I joined IP whilst completing my Level 2 Engineering course at college and after a few months, I found that I was putting into practice what I had been learning. I wanted to continue my education so went back to college to take Level 3 Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, which the company sponsored.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at IP?

Every day is a challenge and a test of knowledge. The company has grown at an explosive rate, it’s a good feeling knowing the company is using its success to expand. I often get asked if I would support other departments that need a helping hand, I always see this as a challenge and it helps to expand my knowledge which can be an asset to the company and makes me more flexible as a worker.

Even though the company is growing, it always feels like a “family run business” where everyone is valued equally and every opinion matters, it really is a great place to work. One thing I like in particular is that the Directors don’t overlook their staff, they are always willing to have an informal chat with you.

What have you found most challenging and how you have overcome this?

Taking on new roles within the company to cover other people, I always strive to achieve my best no matter what task I am handed. I am determined to learn the new tasks quickly in order for me to overcome a challenge.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

By far my biggest achievement so far is completing my Level 3 Engineering course.

What is the most valuable skill you have learned so far?  

That it is important to always listen to what others have to say, as they may give you vital information to make the task that you are doing a whole lot easier.

How has working at IP helped you to develop?

This is my first full-time job since finishing my Level 2 Engineering course. It has seen me grow from a teenager into a young man and helped mould me into the determined and hard-working person I am today.

Now you have completed your apprenticeship, what is next for you?

Now I have completed my apprenticeship, the way forward is to utilise my skills within my job role and exceed expectations, striving for a better future with an outstanding company.

Fire it Up!

An apprenticeship is a great place to start, Adam and Alex are important parts of the future of IP and we look forward to them continuing their ongoing development with us. So whoever you are, whatever your background – your new career could be out there. What are you waiting for? If you would like to find out more about apprenticeships please visit the Government’s website and to hear more from our team  on what life is like at IP – check out or blog.

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Matthew Longman

  • In-house Recruiter, Integral Powertrain Ltd

Matt began recruiting in 2008, working for two engineering and technical focused agencies recruiting highly skilled engineers for prestigious customers in Aerospace, Automotive and Formula One.

In 2016 he decided to move in house with Integral Powertrain where he has been instrumental in recruiting staff across the business during our period of significant growth, seeing the company more than double in size during his tenure.

Matt is now helping us build for our future, meeting new generations of engineers and a part of our friendly HR team dedicated to making IP a great place to work.

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