It's National Apprenticeship Week!

Nathan Town, Trainee Mechanical Design Engineer at FHP in Leeds
Nathan Town, Trainee Mechanical Design Engineer at FHP in Leeds

11th February 2021

The Construction industry has always been at the forefront of innovation, in order to meet changing customer needs and societal expectations – as well as leading the way in creating and implementing more sustainable and green solutions.  Apprentices have always played an integral role throughout every aspect of our industry, bringing with them fresh perspectives, bright ideas and helping to #BuildTheFuture.

We would like to introduce you to Nathan, one of our current FHP apprentices who is doing just that.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Nathan Town, I am 22 years old and work in the Leeds FHP office. Outside of work I spend the majority of time playing or watching football, golfing, playing video games and socialising with friends.

What is your Job / Apprenticeship Title?

Trainee Mechanical Design Engineer

What qualification are you studying towards?

I am currently working towards my HNC in Building Services Engineering and, upon completion, I hope to start working towards my degree.

When did you join FHP?

January 2017

What made you choose a career in this industry?

During my A-level studies I developed an interest in CAD so I originally started out as a CAD Technician.  I have recently moved over to the Mechanical Engineering department where I plan to continue my career.

How did you hear about the apprenticeship opportunity at FHP?

When I was completing my A-Levels, I knew someone who was working as a Revit Contractor at FHP and they brought me in to be a CAD Trainee. From there I had the opportunity to start studying towards being a Mechanical Engineer.

What is it like working at FHP?

Brilliant! I work with a great team, built up of people who have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they are willing to share and pass onto me. As well as this, it’s great being able to work on a number of high-profile projects, spread out across the country. Having the opportunity to work on a range of different projects from small office buildings to 300-bed residential developments means that I am able to see the difference in services and design required for different buildings.

What impact do you feel you’ve had since joining?

Since joining the company, I have been able to work on a great number of projects, giving me an extensive knowledge on the different developments we have worked on over the years. From completing CAD drawings and coordinating services in Revit, to recently working as an engineer and providing an additional resource to my colleagues, who often ask for my assistance with their work or for advice on software that they are not as familiar with. I feel that I am a useful addition to the team and hope to become better as I continue to learn and develop within this role.

What have you learned?

When I started my first day as a CAD Trainee, I didn’t even know that building services engineering was a thing! Since then, I have come on in leaps and bounds, learning a great deal along the way. This includes learning how to use industry standard drafting software, such as AutoCAD and Revit, to using calculation software like IES Virtual Environment and Hevacomp. As well as all this, I feel I have also grown up a great deal, with an improved focus on my role and where I would like to be in the future. I have a number of role models who I work with at FHP, who have taken me under their collective wings and helped me develop and grow from an 18-year-old who didn’t know building services existed, to a focused and driven member of the team.

What do you enjoy most?

I really enjoy learning new things, how different systems work and using new software. It is important that I take in as much information as possible, in order to become the best engineer I can. Having the opportunity to ask questions to a number of people is also great, as everyone looks at things in a different way and it’s important to accumulate a range of different ideas and opinions. As well as this, I like seeing something being taken from a concept to being a finished project. After spending numerous hours designing and figuring something out through to seeing it installed and being used is really rewarding and part of the reason I enjoy my job.

What do you want do next?

My first task is to become as qualified as I can whilst gaining as much experience as possible. Then I would like to have a break from education for a while and focus on hopefully working my way up through the industry.

What advice would you give to people thinking about joining an apprenticeship scheme?

It might seem like it will take a long time to get through an apprenticeship, but once you’ve completed it and you know what you’re doing, you can be confident in your knowledge and just enjoy working at something you find rewarding. In addition, you will also become very good at making tea and coffee - that’s always a positive!