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An Apprentice In China


Joel Statham left school after his GCSEs to pursue an engineering apprenticeship with Rotabroach – we find out about the opportunities that he has been given.

Joel found his apprenticeship with Rotabroach, which makes magnetic drills and associated cutting implements for a wide range of applications, through the Semta Apprenticeship Service.

Joel attends college once a week and he is studying for his EAL Performance in Engineering Operations Level 2 qualification, which covers the fundamental skills and knowledge common to all engineering practices.

Joel knew that full time study wasn’t for him after GCSEs, telling us that although “Some of my friends went on to sixth form and college courses, I didn’t think a full time course would give me the education I could get in the workplace, with on-site experience as well as the qualifications and getting paid to do it.

From day one I settled into the team and got on with the job. I am getting to do a bit of everything; assembly builds, testing the machines, working in dispatch, packaging, quality control checks – everything.”

Joel is very well thought of by his employer, with technical manager, Simon Cawrey, an ex-apprentice himself saying,

We have found a real gem in Joel and we don’t want to lose him. I can see Joel progressing to his Level 3 and beyond and would like to see him becoming deputy warehouse manager before he is 18.”

Simon was so impressed with Joel’s behaviour and ability to build a rapport with people that when they needed someone to go to China to help a customer identify and resolve any issues during their manufacturing process he felt that Joel was a ‘natural choice’ – so off Joel went to China, aged just 17.

It is great getting on the production line and seeing all the machines being built from scratch, the parts, the build schedules. By using my skills, along with pointing and body language the local workers quickly pick things up.

To get the chance to go to China is a brilliant opportunity at my age. When I speak to my friends, they may say they have been to Manchester or London but I have been to the other side of the world.”

You can find out more about the Semta Apprenticeship Service at


About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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