College shares success story of engineering apprentice

Engineering apprentice Ash
Engineering apprentice Ash

St Helens College has told the story of an extraordinary globe-trotting apprentice making his mark in engineering.

The further education college spoke about Ash, who secured an innovative mechanical engineering apprenticeship with top firm CAL International and has since progressed to a HNC qualification in mechanical engineering, to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

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Ash's route to his chosen career, which he hopes will end with a dream job in aerospace, was a long one as he is originally from Sri Lanka and had the unique opportunity as a child to experience living in two different countries after moving to Modena in Italy at the age of seven.

He then moved to St Helens when he was 16.

It was during this time that Ash discovered his ambition to become an engineer, with his ambition a key driving force behind him moving to the UK with his family so he could pursue the qualifications he needed.

On moving to the UK, Ash joined the level two diploma in engineering technologies: mechanical engineering at St Helens College.

His willingness to learn and fascination with engineering saw him successfully progress on to the level three course before securing an apprenticeship with one of the top engineering companies in the country, CAL International, based in Knowsley.

Commenting on his experience at college, Ash said: “I have loved my time on the course. The supportive tutors with their industry links, have helped me to secure my innovative apprenticeship and have shown me the path to success. The facilities are incredible too and really help you to get to grips with working in a similar environment in the workplace.”

His enthusiasm and impressive practical skills soon became apparent on the course.

Mechanical Engineering tutor, David Pye, said: “Ash is a fantastic and dedicated student. His attention to detail and drive to learn, has led him to where he is today. He was always taking part in extracurricular activities to assist his future ambitions, which shows his true determination and love of engineering.”

CAL International was so impressed with Ash’s progress during his apprenticeship that he now holds a permanent position within the company as a CAD Design Engineer.

They are also currently funding his HNC in Mechanical Engineering at the college.

So far, Ash has had opportunities to work with high-profile clients such as Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover and NeedleSmart.

As part of his role he develops and researches new ideas that will improve existing designs and processes across a variety of industries such as automotive, chemical, aerospace and packaging.

Ash said: “My ultimate goal is to become a skilled and experienced multi-disciplined aerospace engineer, in which I am determined to succeed. With the experience and skills that I am developing currently on my HNC and the support and expertise from my tutors at college, I believe this dream will become a reality.”

Looking to the future, Ash hopes to progress on to the HND in mechanical engineering at St Helens College before continuing on to university.