My name is Cheryl Powell; I am 24 years old and currently studying aeronautical engineering as an apprentice for British Airways. Before this placement I completed my education in School up to AS levels and went to College to study further A levels, as well as this I took time out of education and work as I had my first child. Once I felt I was ready, I decided to get back into education and training for a long-term career.
Why did you choose to study this course?
I have always been interested in constructing things, inventing things and problem solving. I generally enquire about how things work and not just within the bounds of engineering but all other areas of science. It was since my father worked for British Airways, he informed me that British Airways were recruiting apprentices, I hadn’t yet found what I wanted to do whilst on my other courses at other colleges and thought that this suited my hobby as well as skill set. Growing up around a father whose hobby was building model aircrafts, I knew that this type of apprenticeship was best suited for a person like myself.
What course did you study at Coleg y Cymoedd?
To be specific, I am currently studying a Level 3 BTEC Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering. This covers such subjects as the theory of flight, propulsion systems and machining but also includes the Welsh Baccalaureate.
What are the benefits of studying at Coleg y Cymoedd?
Considering I have studied at other colleges I could tell that Coleg y Cymoedd’s standards were high, but not only in their presentation and facilities. They have all the right equipment on site for learning basic skills including hand machining and turning and the experienced tutors to work with the students. All my tutors currently have a good understanding of my position, as they were all apprentices too. They all have a good basis of experience as they have all worked on aircraft themselves and can portray certain subjects, I think, better than a teacher who has studied from a book. I think it is simple to tell, that the quality of teaching in this college is more than up to standard. I feel they exceed and as far I know their test results and pass rates reflect this.
What do you intend to do next?
As it stands, as long as I do well in my apprenticeship, hit all the right criteria expectations and pass the assessments, I should be eligible for an interview with the employer (British Airways Maintenance Cardiff). It is then down to themselves to decide if the work I have done reflects if I am a worthy employee to continue work for themselves as a full time employee. I would hope that at the end of this apprenticeship I could indeed get a job within the workplace as this would secure me in a company I already have a good understanding of. However, if I do not succeed, I know that this qualification can take me into other areas of the aeronautical engineering industry and does not bound me to narrow options and ties.
How is the course helping you achieve your ambitions? And what impact does this have on your life?
Putting it simply, my ambition is to give myself and my son a better chance for the future and as a single mother, I feel that I must try to support and provide for my son as well as my parent did for me. It is hard as I do not have a partner to help me but this is what makes me want to try harder for my son. I firmly believe that having a child should not constraint any one from pursuing a good career and a better quality of life, but I think it should be manageable. The college helps as they are understanding of my personal circumstances, but also I am fortunate enough to have a family member look after my son whilst I study, I know that the college has a crèche situated on the same site, allowing for parents to study and bring up a family at the same time. The college is good in the way they work with myself, and other businesses around to deliver the best possible chance of succeeding in their chosen course.
Would you recommend College y Cymoedd to others?
Out of all the different colleges and sixth forms I have studied at, by far Coleg y Cymoedd is the best yet! They have great teaching staff, a lot of experience, the right and relative facilities, brilliant facilities and are helpful and understanding.