Chris Bird, Mechanical Engineering Apprentice Technician, Human Resources

“I liked the idea of learning on the job while earning a wage and working towards qualifications.”

I am a mechanical engineering technician apprentice currently working in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. I work in each department on a six-month rotation, which allows me to work on different projects and learn from different people.

I really enjoy using different types of tools and machinery as they allow me to create parts from metal bar/round stock into something useable. One of the tools I use is a micrometer – this is a precise measuring instrument that ensures that a component is produced to the required size.

I work with students and staff to produce the components they need to complete their projects and experiments and attend college on a day release to complete a Higher National Diploma in general engineering.

In school, I went straight from GCSEs into sixth form so that I could keep my options open. After my AS levels, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in engineering. I started a Level 3 extended diploma in mechanical engineering which gave me my first taste of machining and opened me up to a career I hadn’t thought about.

I decided to look for an apprenticeship as I enjoyed working with my hands, and liked the idea of learning on the job while earning a wage and working towards qualifications. I found out about the Imperial scheme because someone on my course had just completed a technician apprenticeship at another university.

COVID-19 put my job on hold as you can’t operate machinery remotely. My college lessons moved online, which was a bit of a challenge at first, but we got there in the end! Having returned to campus, I’ve found it very different as it’s so much quieter.

Outside work, I enjoy working on cars, going on the odd bike ride, and camping. In August last year, I visited the Lake District and stayed on a campsite in a valley, which was a stunning view to wake up to each morning.

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