After leaving school, 18 year old Ross Gibbons started a course in Applied Science at college, but left after a year as he wanted to do something more practical. 

He enquired about engineering apprenticeships, and enrolled on the Level 2 Engineering Pre-Apprenticeship course at The Skills Company’s Greater Manchester SkillCentre in Trafford Park.

The course lasts for 20 weeks, and is intended to prepare young people to be able to start an Engineering Apprenticeship and be useful to the employing company from day one. 

The course covers subjects including bench fitting, wiring and testing electrical circuits, preparing and using milling equipment, and preparing and using lathes for turning operations. 

The course also provides support for the students with CV and interview preparation, and has an excellent record of placing students into apprenticeships with local engineering companies.

Towards the end of the course students are asked to complete an exercise that allows them to showcase the skills that they have acquired over the study programme. They are asked to make a template, design, cut out, and polish a design cut from sheet metal. 

Engineering Tutor at the SkillCentre, Oliver Shaw said:  “The requirement of the exercise was only to produce one finished piece, but Ross went over and above the brief.  He wanted to make a representation of the Transformers logo, which actually consists of 16 pieces.  It was a very ambitious project, but he really pulled out all the stops and produced a really exceptional piece of work, one of the best we’ve ever seen at this level.”

Oliver continued:  “Ross has been a great student all the way through the course, with excellent attendance and a great attitude to learning.  He passed all elements of the course and the piece he produced at the end was truly outstanding.  I’m sure he’s got a great career in engineering ahead of him.”

Ross said:  “I’ve really enjoyed the course, and I’ve learned lots of practical skills.  When we got this assignment I was determined to produce a good piece of work.  I downloaded an image of the logo, traced it onto a paper and then set about cutting out all the pieces. 

"There was a lot of filing and polishing needed, but I was really pleased with the end result, and the feedback I’ve had from the tutors has been great.  I’m now hoping to get an apprenticeship opportunity with a local engineering company and to continue to develop my skills.”