Two keen young engineers from South Tyneside have taken the first step towards a career in engineering after starting four-year apprenticeships with Stagecoach North East.
Kieran Wilson, 21, from Whiteleas in South Shields, has signed up to work at the depot in the town, while Shaun Baxter, 18, from Boldon, has joined the team at the Walkergate depot in Newcastle.
The apprenticeship offers a combination of block release training to the Bus and Coach Engineering Technician Standard, and on-the-job experience.
Kieran is the first in his family to step into the world of engineering and take his career in a new direction.
Prior to becoming an apprentice, he studied software development at Gateshead College, where he achieved a BTEC Extended Diploma.
“During my studies, I realised software development wasn’t what I wanted to focus on as a career, as I like working with my hands more than sitting at a desk, but finished the course and got my qualification,” he said.
“I applied for engineering courses here and at Unipres in Sunderland, and was delighted with my offer of an apprenticeship with Stagecoach.
“I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of engineering and the different ways of fixing things – you actually have to think about the problems.
“So far I have been working on tasks such as changing radiators, fuel tanks and completing different types of services, with a personal mentor for advice and guidance.”
“The company invests such a lot of time and money into the apprenticeship scheme. It’s great so far, and even though I have just started, I hope to be kept on once I qualify.”
Shaun was a student at Whitburn Sixth Form College, where he studied A-levels in biology, history, psychology and PE, before taking up the apprenticeship.
He is keeping up a family tradition, as his dad works as a driver at the same depot.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted in my A-levels, so I thought I would enjoy this more and it would be a complete change,” he said.
“I really enjoy working with my hands, taking things apart that are not working and putting them back together. You get a great sense of satisfaction.
“Working alongside experienced apprentices and senior team members is great for building on my skills and learning from their expertise.”