Ian Murdoch – Mechanical Engineering Technician (24)
Ian has worked for National Marine Facilities Sea Systems for 4 ½ years. He specialises in the maintenance of hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical equipment – deployment and handling systems. He also makes improvements to scientific equipment. On the RRS James Cook, for this expedition, Ian works mainly on the airguns and seismic equipment.
Ian spends around 90+ days per year at sea, he usually knows 6 months in advance when he will be on an expedition – one year Ian spent over 6 months at sea on coring operations. When Ian is not at sea he is based at NOC in Southampton where he works on maintaining equipment to meet cruise requirements. Ian enjoys his job; he grew up working/playing on boats with his friends and finding that he a natural ability and interest in this area decided to take an apprenticeship. Ian had been thinking of a Marine Biology degree but felt that the apprenticeship in Marine Engineering suited him better. Ian likes the fact that through a hands on apprenticeship he now has the skills now to complete practical jobs at home competently.
Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship – Paragon Skills for Business – in Marine Engineering specialising in Mechanical Engineering.
The apprenticeship is made up of NVQs (practical work based experience) and City and Guilds (theory) units.
Ian says that he can add to his units to build up his skill set and therefore his employability. There is government funding if you are under 24; after that you or your employer have to pay for units. Ian says that he thrives on new challenges and opportunities, which in this industry occur frequently.
He feels that apprenticeships are a very good entrance into industry because you are learning from people who already have years of experience. In times of pressure you often have to use your own initiative to complete a task independently.
He likes the fact that he has no student debt and had money coming in immediately. Though he does say that initially the money is very poor – you have to see the training as investment in your future. Ian highly values school work experience as it gives students a chance to find out what they do and do not want to do.
Do your research. Do work experience. Think about what you are interested in. Take any opportunities that arise and work hard at them. Take lots of pictures along the way.