National Apprenticeship Week: An Interview With Process Engineering Apprentice Jack Sutton

Posted on February 9th, 2022

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week here in the UK, we spoke to Process Engineering Apprentice Jack Sutton. Jack told us all about his experience of finding an apprenticeship, and how he has progressed during his time at Walker Filtration.

What were you doing before your apprenticeship/What attracted you to an apprenticeship?

Prior to my apprenticeship I was working in the Merchant Navy. A friend recommended to me that I look for an apprenticeship as they have many benefits. An apprenticeship allows you to acquire valuable skills and experience in your chosen sector, which improves your CV and employability when you’ve finished training. You’ll learn in the work environment, developing the practical skills and understanding you need to excel in your role.

What appealed to you about working for Walker Filtration?

I was drawn to Walker Filtration due to the rapid growth the company has seen throughout the years. What appealed to me the most was the passion the company had for engineering and manufacturing. On the day of my interview I was given a factory tour, everyone seemed very welcoming and I felt like it was an environment I could develop my skills in as an engineer.

What are your main responsibilities as an apprentice?

My responsibilities as an engineering apprentice include learning and developing my practical skills and knowledge in preparation for when I finish my apprenticeship.

I have spent my apprenticeship working within the process engineering department where I work very closely with the other process engineers and production staff. Due to the rapid growth of Walker Filtration, I have been exposed to NPI, designing and implementing shop floor layouts, designing and implementing new jigs & fixtures, compiling and releasing SOP’s, involvement in FMEA’s and introducing new machinery and automation.

As my confidence and knowledge has grown my responsibilities have become greater which is great for my exposure to sound engineering practices.

How have Walker Filtration supported you with achieving your professional goals?

Walker Filtration have helped me massively with achieving my professional goals as I have been given the opportunity to complete the relevant courses and training courses which I need to progress throughout my career.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

I have been a key member of two major projects throughout my apprenticeship, first the introduction of Medical Devices. This included re-evaluating and consolidating our current shop floor layout to allow for a brand-new product group to being introduced into the factory.

The second being the introduction of a new filter housing range which required the development of three new manufacturing cells with lean fundamentals to ensure customer demand was met in the most efficient way. Also, the introduction of new machines to test product performance. This included regular reviews of the supplier and a successful FAT & SAT.

The most valuable thing I have learned, is teamwork. As a future process engineer, for me working closely with the production team is the key to success and without their help and support introducing improvements is extremely difficult.

How has the apprenticeship helped you develop and grow as an individual?

Throughout my apprenticeship at Walker Filtration, I believe my confidence has grown a substantial amount, this is due to the day-to-day conversations I have with other employees and suppliers.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to those looking to start a career in manufacturing/engineering?

I would recommend an apprenticeship to everyone, as you get the opportunity to work in your desired role whilst learning and earning at the same time. It is very rewarding as you come out of your time with all the skills you need to progress onto the next stage of your career.

What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time.

For myself, the next stage is to complete a degree within the engineering field as I am on the last few months of my HNC, and I would like to go on progress further than this.

Over the next few years, I want to explore and develop skills within automation and implementing new technology/machinery to help the company reach its desired potential. I will be looking for opportunities to expand my responsibilities within this current role, to work towards my goal.

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