Andrew Smyth

Andrew Smyth

“I had a few friends who worked at Thales and they encouraged me to consider applying for an apprenticeship. Since I was young, I have always been interested in cars, how things work and building things with Lego. I applied for the programme and have successfully completed my Level 2. I am now undertaking my Apprenticeship NI Level 3 in Manufacturing Engineering and haven’t looked back. I fell in love with the work, the work environment and I have really enjoyed the learning experience I’ve had with SERC.”  

“My first year’s apprenticeship at Thales was a rotational year, which gives you an insight into all the different areas of the workplace – electrical, fitting, machining, manufacturing engineering, – and at the end of the year, you get to choose – within business needs – which pathway you take. I was undecided between electrical and methods but was offered an electrical position as an apprentice in Thales Alenia Space (TAS), which is primarily involved in satellite production. I was the first apprentice in Belfast to be offered an opportunity to work on the satellite propulsion systems in TAS due to the complexity of the product. It was a big deal and a great opportunity which I jumped at.”

“My day-to-day role involves building a wiring loom from start to finish, which takes about three weeks depending on the loom. These power and control the propulsion units for a satellite.”

"The Level 3 Apprenticeship has opened doors for progression in Thales. I have successfully secured a role with the methods team on completion of the qualification, which will enable me to advance within the organisation.”

“Earning whilst you learn through an apprenticeship is very helpful. Learning at College has been great. Everyone has been very helpful with giving career advice.   The machine shop is good - it has been great being in there and having all the software and applications at hand to progress all that you are learning and to support what you are doing at work.”

“Just because you are not good at something, it doesn’t mean you won’t find ‘your thing’, whatever it is that you want to do.   Just keep trying, ask questions, do a bit of research. I don’t ever consider that I dropped out of anything, the things I tried just weren’t for me, so I felt the need to move on to something that matched my skills and interests better – that was engineering, and now I am living my best life.”