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Elliott found the prototype for success – with an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship tutored and assessed by Swatpro Academy has been the launching pad for many an interesting career – and 23-year-old Elliot Dando is one shining example.

“I really enjoy my job. You rotate through different parts of the department, work on diverse projects, collaborate with design engineers and see ideas develop into real products in the shops,” he says.

Elliot works as a Prototyping Engineer at Dyson’s Malmesbury R&D centre, helping to develop a diverse product range for the prestigious technology giant.

“It’s funny, you’ll be in a store and a sales person will show you a Dyson product. I’ll let them do their spiel about the product and then say – I know about this, I helped develop it!” he laughs.

His “dream job” began as an apprenticeship tutored and supervised by Swatpro Academy at the British Engineering Manufacturers Association (BEMA) training school at Yate, north of Bristol.

Elliot, from Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire, had become interested in engineering thanks to the encouragement of his grandfather.

After A Levels, he was intending to go to university, like his closest friends, but – despite receiving offers – he was unsure.

“I just wasn’t convinced it was right for me,” he remembers, “so I applied for a few apprenticeships, got some interviews and landed one at Dyson.”

Elliot undertook an Engineering Technician (Machinist – Advanced Engineering), Level 3 Apprenticeship.

He spent his first year learning the basics at BEMA. Apprenticeship Standards are all about learning the real skills, knowledge and behaviours that industry wants, and he says BEMA stood him in good stead in this regard.

“You spend lots of time on machines, milling, turning and learning the important Health & Safety protocols,” he says.

“The equipment in BEMA was great and the staff were so helpful. You never felt embarrassed asking a ‘stupid question’ because they really knew their disciplines and were happy to guide you through the processes.”

The next three years, Elliot worked mainly at the Malmesbury facility, spending one day a week back at BEMA and having an assessor visit him at his workplace every 6 to 8 weeks to see how he was getting on.

“It’s great learning from your colleagues at work, but I knew BEMA was still there for me: making sure I was preparing the portfolio and would be ready for the interview that is required for the End-Point Assessment you need to complete your apprenticeship.”

“Their standard of care is very good. I can’t praise them highly enough,” he adds.

As well as completing his apprenticeship earlier this year, with flying colours, Dyson allowed Elliot to complete an HNC and HND qualification in Mechanical Engineering and has his eye on further qualifications in future.

“I am excited my future at this company. There are many opportunities for continual career progression and skillset growth”

So, what would Elliot’s advice be to people considering an apprenticeship?

“My advice would be to look really seriously into it. It’s a great way to start any career.”

“My friends who went to university now are looking for jobs and say to me ‘we wish we’d done an apprenticeship!’ That says it all.”

To check out all our current apprenticeship vacancies, including an apprenticeship at Dyson, click here.

Elliott found the prototype for success – with an apprenticeship