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An apprenticeship helped Lachlan retrain and build a future in engineering

Lachlan Martland finished his apprenticeship in welding and fabrication in record time and is already a huge asset to his employer, Briggs of Burton. He confidently works on a wide range of products and has travelled internationally to deliver projects to their clients in the distilling, pharmaceutical, food and brewing industries.

After leaving a 9 year career in the military in 2018, Lachlan discovered the potential to retrain in engineering. He started working for Briggs of Burton back in November 2020 and completed his level 3 apprenticeship in just 12 months.  He has already progressed onto a HNC and has a host of other qualifications linked to his job.

He told us more about his journey to retrain for a career in engineering with an apprenticeship:

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

“I went to night school at first because I thought apprenticeships were just for 16 and 17 year olds. It was costing me a fortune but I was working at the same time as studying so my employer at the time offered me an apprenticeship as an alternative. That is when I was first introduced to Learning Unlimited and I realised the potential of learning on the job.

I knew there was a lot of different routes in welding and fabrication but I thought it would take me a lot longer to get to where I am now. I think I expected to be doing general fabrication for quite a long time but my apprenticeship here has really paid off.”

How did you manage to complete your qualifications so quickly?

“I used the time I had during furlough to do lots of the academic apprenticeship work while I was at home. We were lucky that we were a small group at college so we managed to get through the practical college work really quickly. The tutors were really supportive and teachers at the college really take the time to make sure you understand.”

Tell us about your day to day role.

“No two days are the same really. The work is so varied. I could be doing anything from forming a sheet of material to develop something, or doing some heavy welding. Sometimes I get involved in fitting at a customer’s site too.

I have done lots of different roles here including international projects so it has been quite an interesting career path so far. There is such a variety of contracts and I think I have worked on most of them. I have travelled to Germany, been all over the UK and been to Scotland a few times too.”

What’s your goal for the future?

“There is still a lot to learn on vessels so I am trying not to run before I can walk. I like the idea of developing my skills on the inspection side which I am studying now alongside my HNC.”

What would you say to anyone else who was looking to retrain?

“You shouldn’t dismiss apprenticeships. You can do them at any age really. It should be pushed a lot more and promoted that it isn’t just for school leavers. You can retrain when you are older. It’s been the best thing I have done to be honest.

There are huge skills gaps in engineering especially in welding. There aren’t enough tradespeople out there and it is a decent job which you can do really well in.”

Lachlan’s Manager, Martin West, told us:

“Lachlan has gone above and beyond. He has passed his welding qualifications and more. It gives me the freedom to put him on any job and I know he will do a good job. It is a pleasure for me to work with him and I would like to thank Dominic Guest from our team for putting forward Lachlan for an apprenticeship at Briggs.”

“From our perspective, apprentices add to the mix on the shop floor. We have the experienced team members who are passing on their knowledge but the apprentices bring new ideas and have different skills and are more tech savvy. When you walk on the shop floor it has a real positive feel.”

 “I think the secret to our success of getting quality apprentices is our recruitment process. I take the time to see how that person would fit into the team. We choose apprentices who are here for the long-haul and want to build their career. I have got a really good working relationship with Learning Unlimited. I have a point of contact who I can call at any time to discuss anything I need to help the apprentices learn and develop. It makes a big difference for us and the apprentice.”