A Day in the Life of a Fabrication & Welding Apprentice

A Day in the Life of Thomas Underwood, a Fabrication & Welding Apprentice at Greenfield Engineering

Career Start Date: 03/08/2015


I am just an ordinary teenager; I enjoy keeping busy and also spending time with my friends when not in work. Before I started on Greenfield’s apprentice programme, and while I was in my final year at school I was very unsure and didn’t have an idea of a career path in mind.

One of the main reasons I chose this apprenticeship is because my family, especially my mother, provided me with huge amounts of support that helped me to focus and pursue a job with training.

I started my journey after having a formal interview, which at the time was a bit daunting with one of the Directors and the training manager. I was very interested even more as I heard how many apprentices had gone before me. After completing my interview successfully I was offered a fabrication apprenticeship which I would then work towards getting recognised industry qualifications.


07.30 – Once I clock-in I’m all prepped with my safety equipment and ready to go, I will firstly check with my team leader on my workload following on from the previous shift. The team leader usually has a work schedule or to do list of what he needs to prioritise. This helps me to be organised and work on the right job. It’s always busy but exciting as we work on so many different jobs!

08.00 – 12.00 – Throughout the morning I complete several fabrication processes and continue to check all first offs produced against the drawing. I will then ask one of my work colleagues to double check all vital dimensions prior to continuing with the production batch. It is also very important to look after the production drawings and ensure that they are always returned to the correct folder and in their rightful place.

12.00 – I usually have lunch at twelve o’clock with the rest of the department. I love feeling part of the team and never feel excluded because I’m an apprentice.

12.30 – After lunch I have a briefing with my team leader who informs me that I will be welding for the rest of the day. I check that the welding bay is clean and tidy and that the extraction is working effectively.

13.00 – 16.00 – Batch welding involves a lot of concentration because of its repetitiveness. It is again vitally important to make sure that when using production aids such as jigs that the first off is thoroughly checked against the drawing to ensure the jig is still conforming to specification, but once checked and a second opinion sought. I can continue with the batch run.

16.00 – It is now time to log onto the MRP system and complete the work orders that I have finished today. It is also time to clean and tidy my workplace in readiness for the second shift to take over.

16.30 – Clock out.


What do you enjoy most about your Apprenticeship?

The part I enjoy most about my job is having some freedom and a great team of engineers around me that encourage and support what I do to help me become better. I feel that my team leader has been a huge help and teaches me about the different aspects of engineering as well as fabrication. I want to get better and hopefully further down the line become a team leader myself. Engineering apprenticeships are really varied and I know I have to put in the hard work. The apprenticeship is brilliant and I have had an excellent time so far. I leave the factory at the end of every day knowing that I’ve achieved something in my job.

Also after working in the fabrication/welding area for four of the days, I will then move into a classroom on the fifth day where I meet up with other students from different companies. It’s interesting to talk to other apprentices about their companies and how they do things differently.

What would you say is your biggest achievement since starting your apprenticeship?

That is easy. My biggest achievement so far and one that I was extremely proud of was when I was awarded the second year Mechanical Engineering Apprentice of the year by my training provider. The presentation evening was held at the Park Hotel – Barnstaple and all my family were there to see me receive this award.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for an apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship is one of the best things you can do after leaving school or finishing A-levels. After learning about them myself, I can’t see a better way of gaining qualifications whilst gaining hands on experience and being paid at the same time – “earning and learning!”.

What do you think are the biggest myths about apprenticeships?

That it is a route for somebody not very academic or enthusiastic. This is definitely not the case. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to finish a four year apprenticeship; we learn our qualifications part time and pack what seems like a week’s worth of college learning into one day and then work the other 4 days a week. This can be hard work at times and requires a lot of enthusiasm and commitment to the job but is very rewarding at the end.

Greenfield Engineering

Greenfield Engineering is established as market leaders in precision, sub-contracted sheet metal fabrication.

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Holsworthy Industrial Estate
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