UTC Paves Kamil’s Road to Success at Toyota Derby

Kamil Zmich has just started work on the factory floor at Toyota’s hi-tech car manufacturing plant in Burnaston, Derby. Aged 19, he is training to be able to maintain all the hi-tech equipment used in car production at the plant.

Kamil was one of only 14 candidates to be selected from hundreds of applicants for the sought-after apprenticeship at Toyota. At first he was shortlisted as part of a group of 60 applicants to go through an initial assessment centre process, which led to further shortlisting.  A maths test was followed by an interview then a test of manual dexterity and a team work exercise, before a final health assessment.

A graduate of UTC Sheffield, Kamil felt that his studies at the UTC played a big part in helping to secure the Toyota apprenticeship: “It gave me a head start. Toyota knew about university technical colleges and how they teach a lot of technical theory. I could show that I had a lot of practical experience from the UTC.”

Whilst at the UTC, Kamil was able to compete in the prestigious national WorldSkills UK competition, winning a gold medal in mechatronics skills in November 2015.  WorldSkills UK aims to help young people go further and faster in their careers, gaining the skills that employers need most. It covers a wide range of sectors and 55 disciplines including engineering.

The competition uses real work projects to test competitors’ knowledge and build attributes valued by employers including teamwork, prioritisation of tasks, time management and working under pressure. Teams from UTC Sheffield have competed over several years against colleges, employers and universities from across the UK, winning a haul of medals and placing them among the top performers for engineering skills.

Kamil competed in WorldSkills UK on two further occasions for UTC Sheffield as part of a team of alumni in November 2016 and 2017, winning bronze then gold respectively. In 2017, the teams’ final task was to build a fully automated production line from scratch in three hours. Kamil and his partner completed the task with more than an hour to spare. Kamil is now one of five UK winners training to be selected for the WorldSkills Europe competition in Budapest in September 2018.

Kamil commented, “The competition was extremely tough.  To beat teams from industry at the highest possible level was amazing. UTC Sheffield helped me to develop the technical and personal skills that I needed to compete at WorldSkills and also to stand out from other applicants to secure my apprenticeship at Toyota.”

Kamil studied maths and physics A Level at UTC Sheffield, alongside a Cambridge Technical qualification in engineering. In addition, he was mentored by an engineer from global engineering company Siemens to train for the WorldSkills competition.  When he arrived at Toyota in September 2016, Kamil found that he had a head start with the initial coursework in maths and physics.

“I found my first year of the apprenticeship much easier than I’d expected and now I’m in my second year I’m enjoying getting to grips with all of the different equipment used on the factory floor to manufacture the cars.  By the time I’ve finished, I should be able to maintain all this equipment.”

Kamil is positive about his time at the UTC: “I have a lot of good memories of UTC Sheffield, especially the teachers.  There was a big difference from being at a regular school. I liked the fact that the teaching was focused on engineering and I liked the environment – you knew you were in a technical college.”

Alex Reynolds, Principal, UTC Sheffield City Centre campus, said: “Our students rank among the nation’s most highly skilled young people in engineering and I am extremely proud of them. They are developing not just the technical skills needed by employers, but also the professional and personal skills that are needed to succeed in the workplace. Kamil is a great example of this.”

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