Daniel Whitehall hadn’t planned on starting out as an apprentice at 18. He also hadn’t planned on starting a career in teaching at 22. However, as both opportunities unexpectedly came his way, he has been happy to make the most of them.
As a lecturer based at Walsall College’s Digital Engineering Skills Centre, he trains Level 2 engineering apprentices on day release. His role enables him to shape his own experiences as an apprentice engineer, while developing his teaching expertise.
“Things seem to come my way without me expecting them,” said Daniel. “One moment I was someone finishing my A Levels, the next I was starting a job at Perkins.
“Three years on, I was working in their quality department. I was expecting to settle there for a while, when someone at the college suggested I consider a new teaching role that had come up.
Although I didn’t think anything further would happen after I applied – same with my apprenticeship – both avenues have set me up long-term.”
Daniel spends one day per week studying the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training.
“It is a heavy workload as there are assignments to do every two-three weeks. This is on top of lessons planning and teaching hours,” he continued. “Blended learning definitely helps. So does planning ahead, as opposed to just taking things day by day.”
Daniel has adjusted well to the process of becoming a teacher/trainer to people that used to regard him as a colleague. He is also better able to recognise ways for education providers to respond to gaps in training that employers needed support for.
“As time goes on, I’ll be talking to apprentices working across engineering and manufacturing,” added Daniel. “I’ll also join assessors in meeting employers at their premises. This will help me give my learners more examples of how different businesses apply engineering principles; making the apprenticeship standard work for them.
“A company that creates shelving for vans and a business that specialises in wiring aren’t necessarily going to approach apprenticeships the same way. With that wider expertise and specific insights, I can make sure everyone gets the most out of their training.”