Meet our Alumni: Apprentice at Lavender International, Cameron Barber
Cameron joined the UTC in Year 10 and carried onto sixth form to study an Engineering Diploma, EPQ and Core Maths. He currently works as an Apprentice at Lavender International; an engineering company that specialises in non-destructive testing and works alongside colleges to support the delivery of new apprenticeships within this area.
Tell us about your time at UTC Sheffield, why did you join?
UTC Sheffield looked better than my previous school, as it was new and exciting, and it had a lot to offer! Engineering looked like a great opportunity, as there was a chance to work in high-standard facilities and students were provided with lots of support from teachers.
During your time here, what did you enjoy the most?
I loved everything about the engineering course. I liked learning new skills and using all the different machinery and equipment that I had never used before. Studying in industry-level facilities was an exciting learning environment for me.
How did you hear about the apprenticeship at Lavender International?
I sat in on some of their courses when they came to the UTC and got involved in some practicals. When I was in sixth form, they came in and said they had some apprenticeships, which I knew was the right opportunity for me. I sent in my CV, had a couple of interviews, attended half a day training and then successfully got the job!
What are your main duties and tasks within your current role?
I’ve been at Lavender International now for around eight months. I do a lot of recertification, which involves training people who have got expired qualifications. I’m also an Invigilator in exams. One of my duties involves training people from companies including Allianz, Rolls-Royce and EON. I enjoy attending training courses in other cities to build on my theory and practical skills. I do quite a wide range of different tasks daily. I love meeting new people from around the world in my job, as I enjoy networking and building my skills.
How does the UTC differ to studying at a school?
The UTC has strong links with employers, and I feel like the teachers really care about your work. It felt so different studying at a UTC to other schools. I liked the fact you could learn in industry-level facilities and that the teachers were knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects. It offers qualifications and experiences nowhere else can and I think it can provide a new start for people and a perfect opportunity to make a difference in their lives. If I hadn’t have come to the UTC, then I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Do you use anything you’ve learnt from the UTC in your current job?
Yes, learning about material sciences and NDT (non-destructive testing) in my coursework helped as it gave me an insight and a better understanding. It gave me a good base and I felt more confident when I applied for my current role. If I hadn’t come to the UTC I wouldn’t have as much knowledge of the engineering industry.
Do you have any advice for younger students who are still at school thinking about whether to do engineering?
Engineering is such a broad sector; there are so many different roles and jobs you can go into and there are so many different people who work within this industry. If students have a passion for engineering, I advise them to just go for it!
What would you like to do in the future?
I would like to hopefully progress more in my apprenticeship, sign a full contract at Lavender International and work my way up the ladder. I am enthusiastic to complete more training and gain more qualifications.