Engineering apprentice forges pathway to energy career with SengS

An engineering apprentice has encouraged other youngsters to consider taking the same path towards a career in the energy industry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021
SengS is currently supporting Callum Turnbull through his graduate apprenticeship at Robert Gordon University (RGU). The Ellon-based firm, part of integrated manufacturing specialist Pryme Group, provides engineering, testing, control and hydraulic systems, and tooling to the oil and gas, aerospace and defence industries, among others.

Callum first arrived at SengS as part of a foundation apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering, organised by North East Scotland College (NESCol). Once the placement finished, Callum kept coming back to continue his learning, such was his interest in the industry and the work involved.

Two years later, Callum, now 18, is combining his role as apprentice mechanical technician with a degree in Instrumentation, Measurement and Control Engineering at RGU. Currently approaching the end of his first year, he is on course to achieve an HND, which will then be complemented by an honours degree when the four-year course finishes.

Once a month, Callum presents his university work to management and other colleagues at SengS, which has helped develop his confidence and communication skills.

Recently, Callum has been involved in analysing engineering drawings for a major client project, as well as running cycles for high temperature testing and mechanical fitting for a large hydraulic power unit (HPU).

“I’ve been fortunate to gain hands-on experience and had an introduction to all aspects of the company, such as engineering and testing,” said Callum.

He added “My overall experience has been focused more on learning the practical side, which I feel has been more beneficial to me personally than if I were in a classroom all the time.

“The company has been really supportive in terms of giving me time and a quiet space to concentrate on my coursework and complete assignments. I’m really grateful to the team here for their encouragement, as well as making sure that my coursework is relevant to what I’m doing in the workshop that week.

“University definitely has its benefits; it allows you to meet more people from different backgrounds, who have different points of view. I’ve found the balance the graduate apprenticeship offers helpful in terms of providing real-life examples that I can relate to the theory that we’re taught.

“I’ve enjoyed my time combining studying with learning on the job and look forward to seeing what the next few years have in store.”

SengS runs complex projects for the wider Pryme Group from its specialist site in Ellon, which has helped broaden the type of work that Callum has been directly involved in. With the business continuing to diversify, this has given him the opportunity to gain experience across a growing number of industrial sectors.

David Benison, managing director at SengS, also acts as Callum’s mentor and verifies that relevant coursework has been completed. He commented: “One of the first things I identified when I joined SengS in 2019 was to create opportunities for apprentices and other young people. As someone who started out in the industry on a similar path, I’m a huge believer in the value of companies developing their own talent.

“Callum’s experience has certainly shown the business benefits in bringing young people through and having people around you who understand the company’s ethos and values. As well as fitting in well with the rest of our close-knit team, Callum has shown good problem-solving skills and we are all determined to help him achieve his goal of becoming a graduate engineer here at SengS.

“He works hard, displays a positive attitude and is always keen to listen to others. However, I’ve been most impressed with how he’s applied himself to the academic side of things and I’m sure he will continue in that vein.

“Once restrictions are lifted further, we also have plans for Callum to travel, as part of the wider team, to sites across the UK to support our clients.”

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