My name is Craig Galley, I am 21 and live in Sunderland.
I have been working away from home for the last 12 months, serving my time as an advanced apprentice in engineering for Siemens Energy.
I first decided on an apprenticeship while at sixth form. There was an open day with ex-students speaking about their experiences as an apprentice and how it differs from going to university.
It was a turning point, opening my eyes to the variety of apprenticeships and addressing misconceptions I previously held about them all being intensive manual labour work.
Throughout the remainder of sixth form, I became certain an apprenticeship was right for me. I was tired of the study and revision that comes with A-Levels and what would have been university exams. I applied for an apprenticeship with Siemens Energy in Newcastle and after a few online tests and an interview, I was offered a place.
The first two years included a one-day release to college, as well as rotation to different departments, including machining operations, electrical operations, design engineering, supply chain management, quality control, machine dynamics, balancing, and a few others. This was done so the business, and I, could identify strengths and address any weaknesses.
After my first year, an opportunity arose to join the scheduling department. This meant going to Leeds for a week-long training programme on Primavera P6 software, designed for project management. I’d never used the software, but after the week, I was thrown in the deep end at Newcastle working on some smaller projects in the factory, mainly focusing on the time schedule for each project.
I spent around six months in scheduling before COVID-19 hit, and from March 2020, like much of the country, I worked from home. In June, I got another chance to support a different part of Siemens Energy, which was working in Doncaster on a new power station, Keadby2 (the world’s most efficient CCGT power station).
I joined project controls and scheduling departments at Keadby2, and met so many new people on site from around the world. Siemens Energy is an international firm, which means I have the chance to work with and learn from many people from different cultures and backgrounds. I am not treated like an apprentice, even though I was only in my 2nd year when I joined the project. Everyone values my opinion and I feel I can make a significant contribution on this large-scale project.