Shivan’s ‘mind blowing’ trip to Siemen’s Industry 4.0 Smart Factory in Amberg and its Digital Industries headquarters in Nuremberg was the prize for being named the University of Sheffield’s AMRC Training Centre ‘Apprentice of the Year 2019’.
The Bradford-born 21-year-old is an Apprentice Manufacturing Engineer at William Cook Rail and has just completed the first year of his degree apprenticeship. “I was told that the automation was the big thing about the Siemens factory so that is what I was looking forward to seeing most. Pretty much all factories in the UK have some aspect of automation and I wanted to see what made Siemens so special,” said Shivan. “My mind was blown!”
Shivan was accompanied on the visit by Alan Norbury, Siemens Digital Industries Chief Technologist, who inspired the young apprentice to think about how to apply what he saw when he returned home. “Alan said that the Siemens software they use allows a computer to simulate how a machine would run and how it could do certain jobs, any company working with the AMRC would have free access to the software as part of Siemens Tier One membership contributions,” said Shivan.
“It means you can see the improvements to make before you have to spend the money and make the improvements in the real world. It was one of the things I suggested at work to see if we could implement it in some way. They were really up for the idea, so they’ll be looking into it soon.”
“In our factory at William Cook Rail, if we want to move components from one area of the factory to another site we use forklifts and pallet trucks; but they had electronic conveyers, it would come off a machine, go down into a basement and come up somewhere else to the next machine. I didn’t expect that, seeing all the packs coming up and going somewhere else, it was really impressive.”
The visit is just one aspect of the ‘life changing’ impact an apprenticeship has had on Shivan over the last year. “My life has changed massively. Winning the Apprentice of the Year award has solidified my position at work and I feel like they appreciate me more now. More doors have opened and managers want to develop me, they know I have potential and that they can trust me to do the job.”
It wasn’t just ideas for his workplace and the knowledge gained from Alan Norbury that Shivan brought home with him either, he also brings back memories of sharing a beer and receiving some words of wisdom from the Managing Director at Siemens Mike Houghton. “He told me ‘take your risks now, don’t put yourself where you are comfortable, put yourself in a place where you are uncomfortable. You’ll appreciate it when you’re older,’” said Shivan.
Alan Norbury added: “I started my career with Siemens as an apprentice 40+ years ago. I’m thrilled to now be in a position where I can share some of my experiences working in Industry and support others as they start on their career journey.
“I was absolutely delighted to host Shivan’s visit to Germany. I was so impressed with his attitude to work, thirst for knowledge and self-development and I hope his visit inspires him in his future career. Shivan’s impressive developments to-date will definitely stand him in great stead for the future and I am truly looking forward to following his progression in the coming years.”
Nikki Jones, Director of the AMRC Training Centre, said: “Shivan is a worthy winner of the Apprentice of the Year award and it is fantastic to see him grasping the opportunity of going to Germany with both hands.
“The AMRC Training Centre provides the manufacturing and engineering industry with young people who have both the practical skills and academic qualifications businesses are crying out for. All our apprentices work hard for their companies and Shivan’s success is a great example of how they can make a real difference to their workplace.”