Olivia McLurg – Mechanical/Electrical Apprentice, Caterpillar

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May 20, 2021

What School Did you attend?

I went to St john Vianney’s primary school and then to English Martyrs school and sixth form college in Hartlepool. 

Favourite subjects?

Engineering and geography. In engineering we built a fighter jet, completing research, design, and build ourselves. Our practice designs were also made from plywood on which we did tests to see which style flew furthest! I enjoyed geography at school and considered studying it at university.

Why did you choose to get an apprenticeship?

I chose an engineering apprenticeship as I studied engineering at school and really enjoyed it. From this, I had STEM days at Caterpillar and realised how the experience and qualifications an apprenticeship offers are second to none. An apprenticeship meant that I had exposure to a real engineering workplace – having the opportunity to learn skills outside of the classroom. I liked that I could apply learning to a diverse environment and gain workplace confidence. 

Caterpillar offered many opportunities. From qualifications to being a business ambassador and the chance to be involved with charity events. 

Overall, I chose apprenticeship knowing I’d have the chance to be a qualified technician with 4 years’ experience! 

What qualifications will you have when you finish?

Level 3 Advanced diploma in Engineering and a HNC in Mechatronics.

Would you recommend apprenticeships?

I’d recommend a Caterpillar apprenticeship to anyone interested in gaining hands-on experience alongside first-hand knowledge. CAT also offer the chance to expand your skills. For example, I took part in multiple courses, from emotional intelligence workshops to alcohol awareness and mental health. 

I’ve learnt so much and gained a lot of confidence – meeting people and becoming a business ambassador at career events.

I also had a day at the Army Reserve camp, learning all about the opportunities to be a reserve. 

CAT offers so much opportunity to get involved, meet new people and become a fully qualified technician.

If you didn’t have an apprenticeship, what would you be doing?

At school I always wanted to do engineering. However I did think of going through the A level/ University route. I thought of studying medicine, but never studied A Levels. I love to help others and felt like a career in medicine could be empowering, not to mention the job satisfaction.

What are your hobbies?

I am learning to play guitar. Although not the best, I’m sticking with it. I love baking, anything outdoors and festivals. Glastonbury was my most recent festival in 2019. 

I also like bike riding and would like to do the coast to coast with my brother. I love The Lakes and last year climbed my first mountain – Blencathra, I hope to climb some more mountains after lockdown. 

Briefly explain your Job Role

I work in Bay 8. This consists of what’s known as assembly stages and ‘snag’. The assembly stages involve fitting the dump body, topping the truck up with dyed oils, road test and built-in quality checks. The checks identify any paint or mechanical defects after road test and calibration.

What’s known as ‘snag’ is the area where any electrical/mechanical faults are fixed. Reconfigurations can also take place here. This involves fitting any upgrades to the truck that the customer requires. 

What is the best part about your job?

Everything is always different. Jobs vary so much. Often there can be challenges, which involve analysing situations and trying to find the best approach via problem solving, which I enjoy.  There is job satisfaction when receiving something that was once broken and returning it fixed and ready for the customer. 

What is the worst part about your job?

I wouldn’t say my job has a bad part. If any part was the worst It would probably be setbacks, such as part shortages, as this results in waiting. However, there can be other things to keep you busy, like 5s. 

What is the main challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?

The one would probably be when obstacles get in the way of finishing a job. However this is the whole learning process for experience.  

For example, we had to remove a hydraulic tank lid but on removing components, we found a metal plate prevented us from doing this. It led to us having to remove the hydraulic tank itself rather than just the lid. This added time to the job, but we learnt that in order to remove the lid, removing the tank first is better. Experiences like these help you to look at jobs differently next time and avoid mistakes in the future. 

What are your future goals?

To secure a job at Caterpillar and continue to gain experience. I would also love to do an engineering degree. I feel like this would widen my knowledge and lead to many other opportunities in CAT.

Other goals outside of work would be to do the Great North Run for charity. I would also love to climb Helvelyn! 


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