A day in the life of Abbie Jones, Apprentice Maintenance Engineer, Southampton

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ABP Property

Our property division brings together an unrivalled land bank spanning 21 multi-modal locations around the country, with 960 hectares of port-based development land.

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Drawing on 60 years of experience, ABP Marine Environmental Research (ABPmer) provides specialist marine environmental research and consultancy services.

UK Dredging

UK Dredging (UKD) operates the largest British-owned dredging fleet and specialises in the provision of reliable and cost effective port maintenance dredging services.

ABP DevCo

ABP DevCo creates value from non-port-related development of underutilised land by working collaboratively with stakeholders.

Abbie Jones (far right) pictured with the former Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP

Can you tell us more about what you did before you joined ABP?

I joined ABP when I was 16 years old, straight from secondary school. Once I had my GCSEs, I applied to be a “SETA Student” at Southampton Engineering Training Association. This meant I would get trained up to be a maintenance engineer by SETA. On my second day however, I had an interview to be employed by ABP, and I was offered the job. This meant I would stay at SETA for the year, but at the end of my training I would go on and work at ABP.

What did you find most appealing about an Apprenticeship at ABP?

As previously mentioned, I found the opportunity to join ABP through being a SETA student, and I was very happy to get taken on by ABP. What I found most appealing was the variety of the job. There is so much that goes on at Southampton. One day I am on a breakdown on one of our eight Gottwald cranes and the next day I am working on an airbridge. I also liked that there are opportunities to develop my skills further, for example going on a land-based engineering course at Sparsholt College and also carrying out a Higher National Certificate (HNC) – of which I am currently in my second year.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A typical day for me involves starting at 7.30am, and then having a morning briefing and tool box talk. I am then issued the jobs for the day, which may include servicing a Gottwald crane. This includes aspects such as changing the oil and filters on the engine, and carrying out operational checks which involve driving the crane. Of course, breakdowns may occur in the day which I would also attend. Due to Covid-19 our team has been split in two to prevent our whole workforce going down in the event that someone catches it. This involves rotating each week, starting and finishing an hour earlier. The pandemic hasn’t really affected my activities as the cranes are still regularly in use and still need maintaining.

What’s the most exciting project you are currently working on?

I have been involved in many exciting projects over the course of my time at ABP. One of the most interesting projects I have worked on was replacing the luffing ram and valve block on one of our Gottwald cranes. My favourite equipment to work on are the cranes, so I enjoy any aspect of work that involves them.

If you could give some advice to young people who would like to follow in your footsteps, what would it be?

My advice to young people is to not feel like you have to follow the typical “school, college, university” pathway. This is not for everyone, including myself, and I feel apprenticeships are so valuable, as you are gain experience as you learn, whilst earning a salary. I would also say try to learn as much as you can, ask as many questions as you can, and take as many learning opportunities as you can.

Applications for ABP’s Apprenticeship Programme are open until Sunday 21st February. Find out more and apply here.