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Technician Profile: Zac Parkinson

Zac Parkinson with an apprentice

Zac Parkinson - WMG

Zac tells us about his current role, how he began working at Warwick and his future plans.

What does your role involve?

The role I undertake each day can be very diverse. I am involved in a variety of different areas and have responsibility for the safety of workshop users and the responsibility for safeguarding research equipment.

Some of my daily tasks involve:
- The design and manufacture of prototype components for student projects
- The manufacture of prototype components and samples for research and development, and liaison with our academics and industrial collaborators
- Providing tours of our facilities for students, staff, visitors and VIPs
- Training students, colleagues and apprentices to work safely on apparatus and equipment
- The upkeep and maintenance of our facilities and machinery
- Producing RA’s SSOW’s and COSHH assessments for workshop processes and procedures
- Supporting outreach events

When did you join Warwick?

I joined WMG in 2009, at the age of 17, as the first apprentice in 12 years.

In the summer before I started, I was lucky enough to organise a placement for some work experience. This opened my eyes to the opportunities at WMG and The University of Warwick, and made me incredibly adamant that I wanted to start my career in such an innovative environment.

What qualifications and roles did you have before this?

Prior to starting at WMG, I had recently completed my GCSEs. I was also lucky enough to enrol on a STAR 14 course offered by my school, allowing me to study for my NVQ LV2 in Manufacturing at Rugby College. This course stipulated that I must undertake 50 days work experience in various manufacturing backgrounds, which opened my eyes to a variety of different engineering environments and practices.

What training and development have you received at Warwick?

Since my first day at WMG, I have accrued an Advanced Level Apprenticeship with a NVQ LV3 in CNC Operations and Controls as well as a Higher National Certificate in Engineering. I have also enrolled on many courses that WMG has offered such as IOSH- Managing Safely and the relevant training courses required to use our vast array of equipment. These include ABB Robotics, Wire Electro Discharge Machining, CADCAM and all relative health and safety courses.

My latest endeavour has been to join the Applied Engineering Programme offered by WMG. This 4-year part time degree programme offers a flexible and non-traditional path into university education. At the start of my career, I never dreamt of enrolling on a degree due to the cost. Having an opportunity to be sponsored was a dream come true. This is the perfect way to study, it means I can carry on working full-time and apply what I am learning into my job.

What are your future plans?

I am eager to complete my degree. This will allow me to understand better, what path I will take in my engineering career. I would like to develop professionally and be able to play a more strategic role at WMG. I would also like to visit other engineering environments around the world to widen my experiences and understand what I can do to help improve what is already a great department.

What have you enjoyed about your apprenticeship?

My apprenticeship has given me an opportunity to work on state-of-the-art apparatus and equipment, whilst furthering my technical knowledge and ability in a world-class research establishment. It had been wonderful to be able to study at college, the subjects I enjoy, while also being employed. It allowed me to earn a wage and develop myself to further my career in engineering.

My favourite part has been to be able to work alongside a team of highly skilled engineers who are pleased to see me progress. It feels good to be part of a team who can tackle a variety of different workshop requests and challenges with a high level of professionalism.