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James Aitkin

James Aitkin

Applied Engineering Programme

Apprentice Engineer at Aston Martin Lagonda

Why did you decide to do a degree apprenticeship?

I knew I wanted to work in Engineering but I never knew which area. I wasn’t keen on the idea of University as would describe myself as a practical person who likes to learn through doing things, so University in the traditional way wouldn’t have suited me for that reason. Aston Martin has given me a chance to still gain the full accreditation of a degree, but through learning in a practical manner as a degree apprentice.

Briefly describe your role and the types of projects/work you have been involved in

I am currently working within Inspection Engineering. I have a variety of projects ongoing which include designing a bracket to hold radial lighting, designing a torque training tool to show how a correctly torqued bolt should feel to new technicians and arranging new inspection tooling ready for our new site in Wales.

What have you enjoyed the most about your studies?

I enjoy applying the theories learned in lectures to real life examples. I particularly enjoy the Applied Engineering Design module as enables me to think creatively for innovative solutions to problems.

What is the most useful thing you have learnt?

I have learned a lot about how businesses operate and are managed in the business module. As a topic which I previously knew the least amount, understanding how businesses operate with respect to costing and management has been particularly useful to me.

What skills are you applying to your role?

I am able to apply skills from the design module on my design projects and costings and budgeting from the business module. I can also approach projects with a good mechanical understanding which influences my designs.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I wish to be in a role where I am consistently challenged with new projects. I would like a mixture of written and practical tasks. I think a role which enables me to be creative, help improve people’s lives and solve problems would be ideal for me.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone thinking about doing a degree apprenticeship?

Doing a Degree Apprenticeship may be one of the hardest challenges you face as getting the balance between study, work and social life is very difficult. There may be some parts you hate but it is important to understand that it's all part of the journey. Enjoy and embrace the experience as much as you can and if you work hard the result will set you up for whatever your future prospects are.

james