We have run an apprentice scheme for over 50 years, but what’s it like to be a Kohler Mira apprentice in 2018? We caught up with two of our current apprentices, to get their perspective.
Adam and Sheldon are second and third year apprentices within our engineering programme. Both currently spend one day a week at college. The rest of the week, they rotate through secondments across our business, getting a taster for, and gaining skills within a variety of departments.
Why did you join the Kohler Mira Apprentice Scheme?
Sheldon: “I joined Kohler Mira because I didn’t want to go to university – I wanted to get some hands on experience. This opportunity also allows me to stay local to home. I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent here so far. Over the three years I’ve learnt so much and have had some great experiences – I couldn’t think of anything better that I’d like to be doing right now.”
Adam: “I came to one of the Apprentice Open Evenings which are held on site in Cheltenham. I got answers to my many questions as well as a factory tour; I was really impressed by what I saw.
The best thing about working here, so far, is how much I’m learning in each department I go to – getting to grips with everything we do as a business. All the departments have been really welcoming and I’ve not been afraid to ask questions.”
How’s it going so far?
Sheldon: “Now I’m in my third year I’ve started longer placements in different areas of the business. Recently, I was in our Experimental department for 10 weeks, working with the 3D printing machines among other projects. I’m currently in the Research and Development lab were I’ve started to get involved in some really interesting projects. Just now, I’m working on a control panel which will run a rotary testing system – it’s going really well, I’m learning a lot and getting great support from my manager and others involved in the project.”
Adam: “I’m in my second year at Kohler Mira. The first year was spent at college and now I’m spending one day a week at college and moving around the business on one or two week secondments – so far in the Research &Development Lab, in Manufacturing, as well as a 7-8 week secondment in Customer Services. This gave me a really good understanding of how we interact with our customers as well as solid, in depth product knowledge – which I think will help me as I move around other areas of the business.”
Outside of work, what else do you get involved in?
Adam: ”Myself and the other apprentices meet every two weeks. We talk about our placements and share ideas including what we’d like to do socially. Recently, we went to a Wilderness Centre in the Forest of Dean for a team building event. We were rock climbing and canoeing – it was really good fun and great to spend time together as a group outside of work.”
Sheldon: “When I first started, our group was quite small but each year, the opportunities for apprentices to join the business grows and with this, we’ve been able to get together regularly as a much larger group. We have social events and we’ve got more involved in charity fundraising activities like the Stroud 5 Valleys walk where we raised about £600 for the company charity. This year we’ve set ourselves a target to try and raise £2,000!”
What do you enjoy most?
Sheldon: “The ability to learn as much as possible every day, getting real, hands on industry experience which I wouldn’t be getting at university.”
Adam: “The best thing about working here, so far, is how much I’m learning in each department I go to – getting to grips with everything we do as a business. All the departments have been really welcoming and I’ve not been afraid to ask questions.”
What do you bring to Kohler Mira?
Adam: “I think we bring a fresh pair of eyes. We’re learning new things at college which we can bring with us into the work place – we can give perhaps a different perspective, a different approach that might not have been thought of.”
Sheldon: “I think Adam summed it up well! I’d add that what Kohler Mira has given me, is a great foundation for me to be able to open up new doors, to see what I’d really like to do with my career.
Before I joined Kohler Mira, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but my apprenticeship has given me insight, opportunity to learn and a clear pathway to a career within this industry.”
To find out more about joining our business visit our Early Career page