Jake, from Burford, is on the shortlist for the Institution of Engineering & Technology’s 2015 Apprentice of the Year award. He has beaten off competition from around the country to get down to the last three, and the winner will be named at the IET awards ceremony hosted by Maggie Philbin in London on 18 November.
Jake is in the final year of a four-year apprenticeship at Culham, where he is working alongside some of the world’s leading physicists developing fusion as a future energy source.
I became interested in engineering at school. I was always keen to figure out how things worked, and would prise apart electronics at home to understand how they operated. I found I had a knack for problem-solving and fixing devices when they broke.
Now in my apprenticeship at Culham I get to work closely with engineers and scientists on exciting projects. Being part of a large team that is all concentrated on one goal teaches you the responsibility of hitting targets, but it also gives you good management and teamwork skills.
Alongside his apprenticeship, Jake is also a ‘STEM ambassador’, promoting apprenticeships and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers in schools. In recognition for this he was recently chosen to appear at the Royal Institution in London, where he put on an interactive presentation on fusion power to 200 students from around the UK.
Jake is one of many students who have opted for an apprenticeship route into a career, allowing them to earn and learn at the same time. And he already has his sights on helping UKAEA to solve the energy crisis with fusion.
After my apprenticeship, I hope to continue my education until degree level. Beyond that I’m very interested in developing new technologies – working in a research company helps this, as we’re constantly developing new techniques to solve problems. I’m looking forward to taking a full-time post with the UKAEA at the end of my apprenticeship and from there anything can happen.