What is your name and background?

I’m Ryan Gordon, a 19-year-old from Warrington. Before I joined James Fisher Testing Services (JFTS) in October as a Materials Testing Apprentice I’d been working at Costa for a couple of years.

However, I wanted a career change and to find something that I’d be happy to do long-term, which led me to Youthforce and this role.

What attracted you to this role?

Like many young people today, I hadn’t really considered engineering as a career before. But after I was told more about the kinds of opportunities that would be available to me, and the day-to-day tasks I’d be doing I thought it sounded really interesting –I was hooked.

Through my apprenticeship, I am working towards a BTEC Level 3 Laboratory Technician qualification, so having the support of a company that is part of such a big group like James Fisher and Sons plc is important. I have access to a huge network of people in various roles and from all kinds of backgrounds, which is a big benefit for me, having no previous experience of the industry.


What is a typical day like for you?

Every single day is different, which is ace. During my training, I will be working in most of the departments at JFTS to get a range of experience and a better understanding of the business.

I have started my apprenticeship in the site lab and worked on projects such as cube testing, where I get to use a compression machine to determine Compressive Strength of the concrete. I enjoy jobs like this because there is a level of autonomy I didn’t expect to get so soon, having only joined the company in October 2019. I enjoy working in the lab but I am also excited to get out on site and be involved in bigger projects, such as pavement testing and vibration monitoring.

As part of my qualification, I also have to complete written assignments that lead towards becoming a Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) at the end of the apprenticeship programme. To date, I have had a lot of support with study –both from JFTS and Youthforce  –and the team allow me the time needed to complete these, which I really appreciate.


Do you have any advice for anyone else considering an apprenticeship?

Explore everything and keep an open mind. If you stumble upon an opportunity that you think sounds interesting –go and find out more about it, it could be life-changing!

I would also say to ask loads of questions. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, or why, ask someone. This is a great opportunity to learn and, in my experience, people are open to helping and sharing their knowledge and insights.

Doing an apprenticeship has already given me the opportunity to try out a number of different roles and this, in turn, will help me to decide where I want to take my career. This isn’t an industry I’d considered before, but here I am and I’m really enjoying it. It may just turn into one of the best decisions I’ve made.