the benefits of an engineering apprenticeship

the benefits of an engineering apprenticeship

with the rothen group

Seventeen-year-old Apprentice Engineer, Lewis Douglas, has explained how he has progressed within his role at The Rothen Group during the first year of his career on the waterways. With boats, college, and growing as part of a team, Lewis has discussed just how the business is helping him achieve success.

Lewis Douglas, Rothen Group

In 2022, I was in a similar position to many students leaving high school after completing my GCSEs.

I had secured my Maths, English and Dual Science qualifications and needed to figure out what to do next.

During this time, I was presented with multiple options for my future: attend sixth form to complete A-levels, join a college and receive a BTEC, or enter an apprenticeship and earn while I study.

practical learning

I knew sixth form wouldn’t work for me as I didn’t thrive in the classroom. In my mind, I wanted a course that allowed me to learn through action instead of behind a desk. It was during this period that I heard about the engineering apprenticeship with Rothen Group working on the canal network. The concept of it intrigued me, so I decided to apply.

Now in my second year at college, it’s safe to say I definitely made the right decision. My education is split into three-week blocks where I’m either attending classes at Rease Heath College or working with Rothen Group team putting the theory I’ve studied into practice.

In the past year I’ve taken engineering theory into the field with my colleagues, who have in turn shown me how to apply it to our work. It has been amazing to learn about river/canal management in the classroom and then do it alongside an industry professional the following week.

working with canals

One aspect of the job that I’ve come to love is just how different every day is. When I’m out on site with my colleagues, I could be fixing a canal lock gate, dredging a river, or working on heavy machinery such as workboats and diggers. Two days are simply never the same. When I joined the team, I was surprised to learn how exactly the canals work, and how much time and effort goes into waterway maintenance.

Rothen Group

Rothen Group

Few people know that canals require preservation work, such as relaying the base to prevent leaks. Many that we see today were built in the 1700s and 1800s and you simply can’t expect them to remain perfect over such a long period of time. We work in an incredibly niche industry with very few businesses conducting our kind of work, meaning there are only a small number of trained individuals who can ensure preservation work is correctly carried out. It’s amazing to think that in two years’ time, once I’ve completed my apprenticeship, that I’ll be one of them.

future prospects

As it stands, I don’t believe my education will stop once I’ve finished college. I’m already in discussions with the senior team at Rothen Group to undertake further qualifications at a university level in engineering, with a role ready for me once I graduate. This is something that I never even considered applying for ahead of working with the team. I may only be a year into my career but the support I’ve received to help me achieve a bright future has been astounding.

By applying for the engineering apprenticeship, I have been able to learn about such an exciting and versatile industry while being able to wake up each morning looking forward to work. That’s all anyone can ask for when they’re starting their career. If you know that a desk job isn’t for you and you want to work in an everchanging, enriching environment, I recommend applying for an apprenticeship with Rothen Group.

For more information about The Rothen Group, please visit their website