Interview with Abigail Jones, Apprentice Engineering Technician at Port of Southampton

March 6, 2018

Caption: Abigail Jones began her training at the Port of Southampton as an Apprentice Engineering Technician in 2017, at the age of 17

Tell us about yourself, what do you do?
After completing my GCSEs at Noadswood School in Southampton in June 2017, I began considering different paths that could help me launch a successful career in Engineering. I soon learned about the vocational training available at SETA (Southampton Engineering Training Association) and it didn’t take long for me to apply. Fortunately, I was accepted and commenced my training in September and so far it has allowed me to develop key skills, which will help in an apprenticeship role at ABP. I plan to stay at SETA for a year and complete my BTEC and NVQ training, so that I can successfully move on site at the Port of Southampton and complete the full apprenticeship.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy constantly learning new things and finding out more about the many different aspects involved in electrical and mechanical maintenance, especially in the context of ports. I also like participating in many unique projects and applying my problem solving skills to come up with creative solutions to challenges.

What attracted you to ABP?
I liked the idea that no two days would be the same - packed with adventures and challenges, so that I could never get bored. There are also many opportunities for professional development, whether you're interested in a future in business or academics.

What are your key achievements to date?
I am still quite new to the apprenticeship scheme, but if I had to pick one key achievement it would be the fact that have joined SETA’s student council, which allows me to advocate for student rights.

What would you say are the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship compared to choosing a more traditional university route or jumping straight into an entry role?
I chose to begin an apprenticeship rather than follow the traditional degree route because I was hoping it would provide me with real world experience and equip me with the right skills for a successful career backed up by a nationally-recognised qualification. Another clear benefit is that it is an “Earn while you learn” course so apprentices do not have to pay fees for their tuition and are treated as a regular employees unlike a university degree, which could cost thousands of pounds.

How do ABP support you in your apprenticeship?
On day one ABP provided me with a full set of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as ensuring employee safety at work is an important part of their work culture. So far everyone I have worked with has been really supportive and I really look forward to continuing to find out more about the industry.

If you had to give one reason why young people should consider this career path, what would it be?
The one reason I would give as to why young people should consider an apprenticeship is personal development. It is an amazing opportunity to develop skills you didn’t even know you could gain or were capable of, and by the end of it you will have such a large skill-set that is very valuable in this industry.

Where do you see your career going in the future?
In the future, after completing my apprenticeship, I aim to continue developing my career within ABP, gain lots of experience and skills and hopefully progress through the company ranks.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy either riding my horse out on the New Forest or taking my dogs out for a walk. I also like going down to St Mary’s Stadium occasionally to support Southampton FC.

Please use the following link to watch a video on Engineering Apprenticeships at ABP: