Covid-19 and Apprenticeships

‘We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future’
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Like many small businesses within the manufacturing sector, we have always believed in the youth of today. Young people looking to develop their career and skills in engineering often bring with them an incredible amount of passion, innovation and creativity. As an organisation, it is our mission to embrace and guide young people, not only giving them some amazing skills but also learning from them new ways in which we as a company can improve and work ‘smarter’.

We first met our apprentice Brandon at Liverpool John Moores University for a meet the employer event. Brandon was representing Wirral Met College and we were incredibly impressed by his enthusiasm. Brandon is a mild-mannered, intelligent young man who we instantly connected with. Sometimes you just know a great employee when you meet them!

Picture was taken during Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region visit to CNC Robotics in 2019.

Brandon started working with us in the Summer doing some work experience and has been doing his apprenticeship at University of Central Lancashire since September 2019.

As we are in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and the majority of us are working safely from home, we decided to ask Brandon how he was finding his apprenticeship amid this new way of working.


“During term time, from Monday to Wednesday I am usually working at CNC Robotics where I have been working on a range of different things from calibrating and prepping robots ready to be sent out to the customer, to writing programs and testing processes. The second half of the week I spend studying, attending lectures and working on my university coursework.

I am studying BEng Mechatronics and Intelligent Machines at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

During the lockdown, lectures and exams have been done over video calls and coursework requirements changed slightly due to university facilities being unavailable.

At the moment I am working from home, doing some programming for an in house app as part of my apprenticeship.

I have adapted to doing my apprenticeship online by communicating by email/Microsoft Teams and working from my laptop at home rather than travelling to work and university.

The team at CNC Robotics have been in regular contact using zoom for our Monday meeting and everyone is available for advice about the projects I’m working on and the current situation.

The university has taken the current situation into account with coursework requirements and extended deadlines by 5 days. My lecturers have been updating everyone with any changes and answering questions over email and in the online lectures.

I would say I am proud of being able to adapt to working from home and completing my university work on time despite the sudden changes.

It would be even better if we had more of an idea of when things would return to normal to better plan for it.

I think that degree apprenticeships are a great way to get relevant practical experience while studying for your degree and that although studying part-time takes longer than full-time university, the experience, training and extra practical knowledge picked up along the way more than makes up the difference”.

We are impressed with the way that Brandon has adapted his way of working and has communicated with engineers within the company when he needs assistance. Brandon is a valuable member of the team and we always look forward to seeing him on our Monday morning ‘virtual’ catch-ups.


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