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Metal Fabricator Apprenticeships – Alfie and Hayden’s Experiences So Far

Sheet metal fabrication company Unifabs' Building and signage against blue sky
Apprentice checking measurements to ensure part is within tolerance
Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

Posted in Academy | Posted by Jenny Millington

Here we catch up with two of our apprentices undertaking Metal Fabricator apprenticeships: Alfie and Hayden.  Alfie, is in his first year where each day he finds new opportunities to learn the craft of fabrication. Meanwhile, Hayden, now in his second year, reflects on the progress he’s made delving deeper into the intricacies of metalwork machinery.

Alfie – Metal Fabricator Level 3 (First Year)

Fabrication Apprenticeship apprentice Alfie

One of the most exciting aspects of my apprenticeship is the opportunity to learn all areas of the business. Every day brings new challenges, skills and opportunities to learn. Whether it’s assembling, welding, folding, or running CNC machinery, each task teaches me something new and valuable, bringing me one step closer to becoming fully trained.

Eight months in…

I’m in my first year of a Metal Fabricator Apprenticeship. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old. Having previously had a job in a cafe whilst at school, I knew the apprenticeship route would suit me, being able to earn whilst learning. And after eight months at Unifabs, I’ve already learned so much. From reading drawings to enable me to assemble parts together into products, to welding and press brake operating; every day presents a new opportunity to develop my skills.

When I think back to my first day at Unifabs, three words come to mind—busy, intriguing, and interesting. The fast-paced environment immediately captured my attention. At Unifabs, no two days are alike. One day, I might be working in one area, and the next, I can find myself in a completely different role. The variety keeps things interesting and ensures that I’m constantly learning and expanding my skills.

Future ambitions

My ambitions for the future are simple—to possess a thorough understanding of manufacturing. I want to be able to tackle any task with confidence, knowing that my apprenticeship has equipped me with the skills I need to succeed.

Hayden – Metal Fabricator Level 3 (Second Year)

Unifabs Academy apprentice working on large folded sheet metal part

I’m currently in the second year of my apprenticeship with Unifabs. One thing I’ve enjoyed so far has been learning how to use the folding machines, from the Salvagnini to the ATC and press brakes. Right now, I’m learning the ins and outs of using the different machines for different tasks. It’s a whole new level of precision, but I’m enjoying every minute of it. There are definitely still challenges along the way—like setting up jobs with multiple setups, but I can feel myself getting better every time I get to do one.

Valuable skills and knowledge

We moved around departments much more in the first year of training.  This helped me to gain basic knowledge and skills in a variety of areas.  In the second year, I find I’m now honing those skills more thoroughly in particular manufacturing methods. One valuable skill I’ve learned during my time as an apprentice is how to check different jobs and make corrections to ensure jobs are within tolerance.  

Evolution of responsibilities

Balancing work and studies is fairly straightforward; every Tuesday is college day. We have the time aside to complete any work that is necessary and the team from Unifabs and Traind’up are on hand for guidance. It’s a pretty active profession which is something I enjoy, outside of my apprenticeship you’ll often find me in the gym or doing a bit of boxing.  

Since day one, my role at Unifabs has evolved, I’ve gone from knowing very little about fabrication to becoming a member of the team trusted with setting up more and more difficult jobs. It’s a testament to how far I’ve progressed and I’m looking forward to continuing to advance my skills.

Join the Academy

If you’re ready to kickstart your career in manufacturing, visit our manufacturing apprenticeships page to explore further details on Metal Fabricator apprenticeships. You can also check out some other apprenticeship Q&As here. Take the first step towards a career in metal fabrication with Unifabs today!

Apprentice preforming a tool change on the punch machine

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