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Adam Dawson

Age 16, Apprentice Fitter, Bachy Soletanche, UK

Route to the job
I live close to Bachy Soletanche's Lancashire plant yard and used to see the large machinery going past on low-loaders. I wondered what they were and thought it was something different - it looked interesting. I didn't enjoy school much and wasn't taking exams, so my teacher contacted Bachy to see if it would take me on placement one day a week. I ended up working in the company's workshop three days a week and during my school holidays and when I left school the company offered me a three-year apprenticeship as a trainee hydraulics fitter

Typical day
I now work in the plant yard - which has a team of about 60. We make, repair & service the company's machines, rigs and other heavy construction equipment, which go to construction sites all over the world. I started helping in the stores, ordering and distributing spares; later I got to work with one of the fitters, Graham, who shows me what to do and I assist him. Then when he feels I can do a task, he let's me have a go, then he inspects it. I also help the other fitters out if they need me. One minute I'll be fitting a pump, or changing a rope, then perhaps doing a service or repairing a gearbox. We have to work hard to get everything ready and out on time, but the variety's great - you're never stuck in the same place or doing the same thing day after day. But you've not got to mind getting dirty - working with all these machines!

Highs and lows
It's interesting hearing where the rigs are going and what jobs we're working on. The atmosphere's good - everyone has a laugh and gets on well. The job's very interesting and I enjoy having a go at trying different things. When I left school in 2002, the Company offered me a 3-year apprenticeship - I was made-up. All my friends at school know what I'm doing... And I had a job before many of them.

I'm just finishing off my NVQ Level 2 Key Skills - when I pass this the company says it'll enrol me on the CITB Plant Mechanics course at Reaseheath College in Nantwich. It's a 2-year block-release residential course, doing NVQ 2&3 Plant Mechanics. I'm looking forward to my 18 birthday, when I can start going out on-site, fixing the machines. When I finish my NVQs, I hope the company will keep me on as a plant fitter.

An apprenticeship is great because you get trained and are paid too! Being a plant fitter is a good choice for anyone who likes building or repairing things. You've also got to enjoy working in a team and be able to get on with all sorts of people.