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Young Engineers’ Programme launches Owen on the right career path

Former St Augustine’s RC High School student Owen Hodgson (16) explains how signing up for the Young Engineers’ Programme run by Burnley College Sixth Form Centre set him on the right career path – and helped him secure his first job at a busy engineering firm.

Engineering or Sport? That was the dilemma facing Owen Hodgson when he was considering his career options.

“I’d narrowed my career choices down to two routes, really,” said Owen, from Sabden. “It was between a career in the sports industry or a career in Engineering. Both appealed to me and I’d kept my options open through my GCSE choices but I needed the knowledge and experience to make that final, important decision.”

A spell on work experience as a sports technician and his positive experiences on the 12-week Burnley College Sixth Form Centre Young Engineers’ Programme when he was still in Year 10 pointed him in the right direction and he says he has not looked back since.

“Without doubt, the Young Engineers’ Programme really helped me to make my decision and make things a lot clearer in my mind,” said Owen. “It was the hands-on experience and insight I gained that really fired my determination to get into Advanced Engineering and make it my path in life.

“From that point I knew exactly where I was heading and what I needed to get there: as much hands-on experience I could gain through another Themis Young Engineers’ Programme; studying hard at school for my GCSEs and submitting my CV to local firms who had vacancies for Engineering Apprentices.”

As part of his plan of action, Owen headed to the Themis Careers event last January to discover which employers were actively recruiting Apprentices and to narrow down his choice of potential employers. “It was at the Themis Careers Event that I was first got to know the team from Fort Vale Engineering, where I’ll be working,” said Owen.

“I handed my CV out to different employers on the night and talked to them but it was Fort Vale who stood out from the crowd for me: I think it was fact they were so professional yet had a really welcoming, family atmosphere, too.”

Impressed by Owen’s attitude and commitment, Fort Vale invited him for an initial interview and, following his success in that stage of the recruitment process, he was shortlisted and asked back to complete a practical test and a further interview.

“When I was offered the job I was thrilled,” said Owen, who is one of only six Apprentices out of 60-plus applicants to be taken on by Fort Vale, a global leader in the precision manufacture of valves and fittings for the transportation of bulk liquids in the tank container, road tanker and rail industries.

“I’ve already started getting to know my colleagues at Fort Vale and how they work,” said Owen. “I was invited to come in over the summer for work experience, which was a great introduction.

“I’m now looking forward to starting out as an Apprentice and working my way up through Fort Vale. It’s great to be ‘hands on’ and learning new practical skills all the time. For me, I know it’s the right route and a chance to get my foot on the career ladder early.”

  • Interested in the Young Engineers’ Programme? Contact Rachel Ingham in the Centre of Engineering Excellence on 01282 733200 or email r.ingham@burnley.ac.uk

Burnley College