A day in the life of… Sania Shahzad

Apprenticeship Programme:

Sania Shahzad
UTC Aerospace Systems
Engineering Apprentice, Completed both an Advanced and Higher apprenticeship programme

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy how varied my work is and the flexibility it provides when working on various project/tasks/etc.

What project(s) are you working on at the moment?
I am currently rotating around the engineering functions, from which I will choose one to specialise in next year. I am working on different projects and on something new every few weeks. It’s enjoyable and gives me a good understanding of how each function operates and works with one another.

What does a typical day at work involve?
A typical day will consist of working with new people as well as learning how to carry out tasks or project work. As I am continuously moving about, most of work varies but during my placements I will be working on stress calculations, carrying out or preparing for engineering tests, solving problems, using CAD software to solve or produce solutions, understanding how different process impact certain materials. My role covers a range of engineering functions.

What do you see as the biggest challenges in your job?
The biggest challenge for me is that as I am continuously moving around the functions I am required to learn new process and procedures; however the variety I obtain from this working environment makes the work enjoyable and challenging in a good way as it ensures you never get bored. Any academic knowledge I am lacking can make certain tasks challenging. However, as an apprentice you are required to learn so you are given the time and provided with the required support to learn the required material; learning in this manner is more enjoyable as you will apply what you learn and its relevant to the work you are doing, unlike a solely academic area where you may or may not use what you learn, although both scenarios have their advantage.  

What made you choose to train as an apprentice?
I knew engineering was a broad area and I enjoyed the work experience at UTC. I wanted a focus before I went onto doing any further study in engineering so I joined the apprenticeship scheme to find out what I wanted to do and have flexibility in the work I did, regardless of what that may be.

What are the benefits of apprenticeships?
There are many benefits; being paid a competitive wage whilst learning, having your education paid for, and having a secure job. These are just some of the benefits that are always advertised.

However, there are other benefits too. You have the opportunity to apply what you are learning or see the practical application of what you learning. This often is taken advantage of but learning is often difficult when you cannot visualise what you are learning or it is often boring if you know you will not be using what you learn. You not only gain experience but pick up various skills throughout for apprenticeship such as business knowledge, how to communicate in an effective manner where that be when meeting new people, in meetings or presentations, build up a network of connections as engineering companies are rarely small, and learn how to use software and different tools. Your methodological approach to problems is also developed. These are just some of the skills apprentices gain throughout their apprenticeship, and there often isn’t any pressure to perform at the same level a graduate may be expected as apprentices are simply students for the business to teach and develop.

Graduates often have to build up that experience and knowledge of how things work outside of a theoretical environment, and learn how to use new tools and equipment. However, these are just some of the things apprentices have the opportunity to learn which many don’t realise the benefits of.

What are your future plans?
I have an aim to finish my degree at Warwick University and hopefully progress in my education from there. I am also hoping to build up and expand my skills and knowledge in my working environment. 

What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I enjoy reading and often watch foreign movies and TV series. I enjoy sports such as badminton and football and often draw as I want to eventually develop my own manga.