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ARA Apprentices - Personal Experiences

Marcus - Technician Apprentice  

Having started my Apprenticeship at ARA last year, the first six months of my apprenticeship was at Bedford College, Brunel Training Centre, completing the training modules in milling, turning, hand  fitting, thinking skills and employment rights. However since I finished at the training services at the start of Easter, I have been coming to ARA full time with a day release to Bedford College to complete a HNC.

I have regular visits from a member of staff at the Training Centre, who assigns work for me to complete as part of my NVQ Level 3, to ensure that I am getting on with the work she has set me and that I am feeling confident about how my apprenticeship is going.

The other designers in the Design Office have made me feel welcome and I have settled down within the department with my own work station. My fellow employees are also teaching me ways of using CAD and are always encouraging me to do my best.

The CAD system I have been using at ARA is more advanced than the CAD system I used during my GCSE’s and A levels, however I was sent on a training course at Castle Donnington, for the CAD software in July to learn the basic operations of the design software.

I am really grateful to ARA for accepting me on their Apprenticeship scheme and I look forward to many years of employment with them.


Umer  - Craft Apprentice 

I have just completed my first year of my Apprenticeship and during my first year I was at the training group/college for three months doing basic units such as turning, milling and hand fitting. It was crucial that I completed these units as it gives you the basic understanding of the machines, hand tools and what you can produce using them. Also once you finish these basic units you are able to go back to ARA which allows you to work more efficiently as you want to be at the company with your colleagues. 

After three months at the training group/college I came straight to ARA to work with in the Design and Manufacture department doing four days at ARA and a day release to the training group/college. When I came here I got shown around and introduced to everyone and I can say all the people were welcoming and helpful which was great. I settled in quite quickly as I got along with everyone. The training at ARA is more in depth and detailed. 

I was first trained on the manual mill for three months with Shaun and did several tasks on there including some actual customer jobs and made some tools for myself which are useful and handy. Also I will need them for later on during my apprenticeship. 

Then I went onto the lathes with Bryan for three months and I learnt how to machine metals and did a lot of actual jobs on there and again made myself some useful tools. I have now currently moved onto Inspection learning the CMM (Co-ordinate Measuring Machine) with Dennis. The CMM is a very expensive and delicate piece of equipment which needs to be handled very carefully. I have inspected some jobs with Dennis so far. I will be in inspection for a couple of months and then I will move onto another section (Fitting). I have a schedule which shows which areas I will be going to and when I will be going to them and how long for.  

So far my apprenticeship has gone very well and I am glad I chose ARA, as the apprenticeship programme here is superb as you get a lot of training and experience. Also you move onto different sections after a couple of months learning and picking up new things all the time which is good as you are not in one section all the time doing the same thing every day. I have gained a lot a lot of experience and knowledge from people at ARA who have trained me and taught me. The people here who train have a lot of years of experience under their belt and are skilled in what they do. The training at ARA is excellent and top notch.