7 August 2019

My apprenticeship journey: to digitalisation and beyond!

Digitalisation is rising rapidly around us. The world is changing at a drastic rate and I’m excited to be a part of it…

By a pure chance encounter in 2014, as a 17-year-old working in a pub chatting with one of my ‘regulars’ who worked at Siemens, I found out about the company. Back in 2014, I didn’t quite realise that Siemens was a massive blue-chip company, I just thought Siemens made phones! So, from this encounter I arranged my one-week work experience, which extended to 2 weeks and then onto a 6-week summer placement working in the IT Department. I don’t think I quite realised how much my business and IT skills would benefit from working in such a large company as Siemens. 

Unfortunately, back in the summer of 2014, I couldn’t remain at Siemens due to having to finish my A-Levels at Biddulph High Sixth Form, but at this point I had found my passion. From 2015-2017, I worked in the NHS. As much as I loved working there, it wasn’t Siemens. 2017 arrived and the opportunity to return to Siemens Congleton came, in the form of being an IT Higher Degree Apprentice.  I felt like I had won the lottery! I could finally get back to what I wanted to do – Business & IT – and I would be able to further my knowledge around the subject by doing this via the apprenticeship route and studying for a degree in Digital & Technological Solutions at Staffordshire University.

Amazing opportunities

It’s been a whirlwind of journey so far and I am only at the end of my 2nd year. I have done many amazing things and met some incredible people along the way. One of my biggest highlights was becoming the Siemens Higher Degree Business Apprentice of the Year in June 2019 and the Outstanding Level 6/7 Higher Degree Apprentice of the Year at the Rate My Apprenticeship Awards. After being awarded these titles, I have been given some unbelievable opportunities. One of which was being a Siemens Rove Reporter at Goodwood Festival of Speed.  My role was to keep our employees up to date with events and attractions at the festival.

Here I am at Goodwood Festival of Speed!

Another opportunity I have been given was attending the AMRC 2050 factory with Alan Norbury, and seeing the future of automated and digital manufacturing. Simply stepping foot in this factory gave me ideas to bring back home to Siemens Congleton. I am the Managing Director of the Junior Factory which manufactures Pick-2-Light systems, and the 2050 factory gave me ideas about what future improvements we could make to our bin picking systems.

Visiting the 2050 Factory was just the start, I attend the AMRC Awards later that day with Alan Norbury and Brian Holliday where I met the AMRC Apprentice of the year Shivan, whose prize for winning his title, was a chance to visit the Siemens Factory of the future in Amberg, Germany. Of course, I had to try get on this trip… which I did!

The future of digitalisation and manufacturing

Visiting Siemens Amberg and Siemens Digital Industries (DI) Headquarters at Moorenbrunn allowed us to share best practice regarding digitalisation and automation. During the trip we had a great presentation and tour of the Siemens award-winning Amberg Electronics Factory that explained how Amberg has gained the status of Industry 4.0 – Factory of the Future. One amazing fact is that Siemens Amberg produce 1 product a second, 24 hours a day, 5 days a week!

At Siemens Amberg’s Factory of the Future

At the DI Headquarters, we had an insight into the future of digitalisation where they are showcasing lots of different innovative tools including:

  • Product & Production Digital Twins.
  • DigiDemo Machine. The code for this was designed using MCD (Mechatronics Concept Designer) and PLCSim (PLC Simulator) to virtually prototype the physical demonstrator and generate the code.
  • A simulation of the S7-1500 Assembly Line.
  • Siemens plant simulation was used to simulate a complete factory production line.
  • Overseeing all these showcases is Mindsphere!

These creative ideas have now inspired me to introduce some of these innovations back into our own factories and workplaces.

I am 22 years old, and have worked at Siemens Congleton for 2 years. During this short period of time I have witnessed: Digital Experience Areas being built, VR Presentations, Mindsphere and Industry 4.0 robots. Who knows what the future will hold for manufacturing. As I stated in my opening line, “The world is changing at a drastic rate” but I am excited to be a part of it.

I love my job. Every day is different to the next. I arrive at work happy, knowing that I am going to be working with a great, supportive team at both Congleton and the wider Siemens family.

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