Patty Walsh and Phil Webb

19 June 2019

Engineering apprenticeship pays off for recent graduate

Facteon Engineering’s most recent apprentice graduate, Patty Walsh, started his career with the company in 2014 as a trades assistant. After realising his passion for machining, he accepted an apprenticeship. Four years on, he’s a fully qualified tradesman.

“I had just finished high school and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do career-wise. My neighbour, who is Facteon's Manufacturing Manager Phil Webb, mentioned that there was a job going at his work as a trades assistant,” explains Patty.

“I didn’t know a lot about engineering at the time, but I’d always enjoyed working with my hands so decided to apply. As a trades assistant, I learned the basics of engineering. This minimised the uncertainty going into my apprenticeship as I knew what I was signing up for and I was able to hit the ground running.”

Patty says studying alongside full time work was great as he learns best through doing, so the practical element of an apprenticeship meant he could pick up new skills quite quickly.

“I was exposed to a range of areas from computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programming through to control systems and project management. Having moved through different business units, I was sure that I wanted to work in the Machine Shop after I finished my apprenticeship,” he says.

“The Machine Shop is focused on delivering components on a short deadline, we tend to turn around work very quickly. In a day, I could be machining a component for the medical industry and later, working on a part for a production line.”

Patty’s Competenz Training Advisor Alan Smith met the young apprentice partway through his training.

“I could tell straight away that Patty was highly organised and focused on completing his training. At Facteon, the apprentices do an extra 125 credits above and beyond a normal Fitting and Machining training plan. This makes them highly trained and well-rounded in all aspects of engineering,” says Alan.

“I work with four apprentices there at the moment – the company, and Manufacturing Manager Phil Webb, are very supportive. To complete an apprenticeship the apprentice, the company and the training advisor all have their part to play to make it successful.”

Aside from balancing working full time and studying, the biggest challenge Patty faced was taking the theory and applying it to a range of situations. He says this was particularly difficult in the early stages of his apprenticeship, but he found that it was helpful to work with the other apprentices.

“There’s a group of us that are a similar age and we get on well. So, the guys and I relied on each other for support as we worked our way through the book work and practical projects.”

A Facteon apprenticeship covers almost every aspect of the business. From the manufacture of custom components in the Machine Shop through to the building and commissioning of large-scale production lines with the Build Shop team. They also work closely with design, control systems and automation engineers to better understand the full-service offering.

Now that Patty has finished his apprenticeship, he is taking the opportunity to have a short break to travel across Europe.  


Pictured: Patty Walsh (L) and Phil Webb (R)