Posted on / in Primary Engineer

National Apprentice Week 2024 with Baxi and Primary Engineer

National Apprenticeship Week (5th – 11th February) is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of apprentices and highlight the positive impact they make to communities, businesses, and the wider economy. We are sitting down with a hot drink to chat with Alexander Mathers, a degree apprentice at Baxi, to get his insight into his experience and the world of apprenticeships.

This is the third year running that Baxi, which has a manufacturing facility in Bamber Bridge, has supported the Primary Engineer Construction programme in the Preston area.

“Companies such as Primary Engineer give us the confidence that we can continue to commit investment in capable and career-focused school leavers and graduates to help us grow in the years ahead.” – Karen Boswell

Why did you personally get involved in The Primary Engineer Construction Programme and why was it important to Baxi?

I personally got involved with Primary Engineer in 2021, because I was part of the company’s CSR team for our Preston site. I instantly loved the idea of inspiring young students to take an interest in Engineering, as without my Engineering role models growing up, I may not have realised the possibilities within Engineering or chosen the path I did.

The people at Baxi have identified that the Primary Engineer Construction Programme aligns perfectly with our sustainability pledge. We find it important to offer younger generations opportunities to help them learn, for example the apprentice programs at Baxi is suitable for a range of levels and ages which provides people from all educational backgrounds the opportunity to develop.

What has been your experience at the teacher training day on Friday 13th October? Any highlights? Why is it important in the Preston area?

“The training event was a great start to this year’s program, having our largest Baxi Engineer attendance from prior years, it was a great opportunity to get all the teachers together, get to know them, learn about the activity and laugh!

The highlight of the training session for me, was getting to know the teachers, understanding their role beyond the classroom and the challenges that present themselves.

It’s important we focus on the local areas around our manufacturing site in Preston, as we are a large employer, many people know Baxi locally and as the company has been operating in this area for over 150 years, it’s only right that we give back to the community and inspire the youth of Preston.”

Tell us about your career. Why did you become an apprentice? What do you enjoy about your job?

I entered my Apprenticeship under the Manufacturing Engineering department, where I worked around the company in all sectors to gain a good understanding of all processes and departments. Now I am working in research and development after being presented the opportunity to work with the development team.

I became an apprentice because I thought it would have the best of both worlds, studying for a B-Eng in Mechanical Engineering, while also gaining real working knowledge of industry and Engineering. These two attributes complement each other to give a “time served” apprentice the best skillset to start their career with.

What I enjoy the most about my job is how varied it is. I’m not glued to a desk all day! I get my hands dirty in the workshops building prototypes, and thereafter I get to test them. This style of work, where one day is never the same as another appeals to me massively.”

What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship in the engineering industry?

“My advice to someone who wants to enter the field of Engineering through an apprenticeship scheme would be to seek out knowledge that will help you in the lead up to getting an apprenticeship, for example, this could be through small projects at home. The foundation of Engineering knowledge built from engaging in these projects, will prove very valuable at all levels and all sectors of Engineering. This proactive approach proves your ingenuity and willingness to learn/progress to a potential employer.”

We can’t wait for March when staff from Primary Engineer and Baxi, along with teachers and pupils will be attending a joint school event as they celebrate their achievements at the end of the programme. Learn more about the Programme here

To find out more about how Baxi is supporting the next generation of engineers, click here.