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My apprenticeship helped me to kick-start my career

Last year, over 160,000 young people chose an apprenticeship to kick start their career.[i]

Apprenticeships are an excellent alternative for young people looking to get hands-on training and the chance to put their skills into practice.

Every year, Peterborough College, part of the Inspire Education Group, works alongside local businesses to train over 400 apprentices in their chosen profession, helping them to achieve a nationally recognised qualification and work experience which is valued by many employers.

Local Engineering firm, Perkins Engines, is just one of many businesses that work in collaboration with Peterborough College, to give young people in the community a leading edge and the opportunity to earn whilst they learn.

We spoke to Tim Atkin, Quality Technician at Perkins Engines, about his apprenticeship journey and road to success. Now in his fifth year at the company, Tim managed to fast track his career with the knowledge and relationships he gained during his apprenticeship.

Career beginnings

“I started my four-year Mechatronics Apprenticeship at Perkins Engines in 2017. As part of my apprenticeship, I gained qualifications professionally recognised by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE).

“I achieved my qualifications through Peterborough College where we covered many different aspects of engineering. This provided me with an excellent foundation in the field, as well as extensive background knowledge which I could then apply to my role at Perkins.

“Once I completed my apprenticeship, I became a qualified Engineering Technician, and was then offered a position within the Perkins team, giving me plenty of opportunity for further long-term progression and development.”

Ongoing and personalised support

“Throughout my course, the teams at Perkins and the College were excellent in ensuring I was well supported and steered in the right direction. Every apprentice at Perkins is given a tailored career plan, allowing them the option to progress into a specialised department based on a combination of preference, performance and demonstrated skills.

“Working for Perkins has given me the opportunity to learn from the wider team and the needs of our clients. Thanks to my tutor and the rest of the team, I quickly gained confidence in a work environment as I was able to learn on the job and made to feel comfortable in my role. There was always someone on hand to offer their support and to guide me through both the academic and practical side of my course.

“It’s this excellent support that I received from my colleagues and the College, that helped me to complete my apprenticeship in just three years instead of four – giving me a head start in my career and allowing me to further build on my capabilities.”

Discovering your true potential

“My apprenticeship gave me a breadth of experience which has served to further my passion for the industry and has greatly benefited my career. By spending time working alongside team leaders, understanding how different areas operate, the demands of the inspection process and the opinions and requests of our clients, I gained a more rounded comprehension of how these different elements fit together – something that I would not have been able to gain elsewhere.

“I believe Peterborough College is a fantastic provider for anyone looking to do an apprenticeship. My colleagues and personal tutor were pivotal in helping me to develop my skills and experience in the engineering industry and getting me to where I am today.

“Apprenticeships are a great choice for those looking beyond the traditional routes into employment. Not only did it allow me to gain practical and valuable experience but was also excellent in helping me discover my true potential.”

To find out more about how you can apply for an apprenticeship through Peterborough College, please contact: or call 01733 762121.