As an apprentice with manufacturing solutions provider, PP Control and Automation, Jerelle Jackson gained experience of different parts of the business. These included the shop floor, main assembly, purchasing and continuous improvement departments. The opportunities helped him go on to become a production engineer at the Walsall-based company.
His role involves using CAD software to produce low level coding for cutting and identification programmes. He liaises with other engineers and customers to identify any problems with software that might arise. He also estimates the costings of certain technical specialist jobs.
“I’d always been interested in the technology and engineering,” said Jerelle who studied Level 2 and 3 engineering at Walsall College. “I like using the software and being able to take the lead on projects. I enjoy the responsibility and the chance to visit customers. I get to see their working environments and how things are done across the wider industry.”
His apprenticeship came about after he spent time exploring a range of university and training options during sixth form. It was the idea of gaining practical experience as an apprentice and being in an engineering environment that won him over.
His apprenticeship involved him spending four days at the company and then on day release receiving training at the college.
“It’s good to have that break from the job,” said Jerelle. “It helps you focus more on the study side of the apprenticeship. Plus you meet apprentices from other companies, gaining a broader knowledge of the industry. I’ve trained with machinists, maintenance engineers and other electrical and electronics engineers like me. You pick up a lot from each other.”
Having worked at the company for five years, Jerelle continues to build on his knowledge. He is beginning a HNC Electrical/Electronics course and is keen to develop is skills in design and programming.
His commitment to his ongoing development led to him winning Walsall College’s 2019 Apprentice of the Year award for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).
“I know I’ve developed a strong work ethic where I’m proactive and make sure my work is high quality,” Jerelle continued. “My college assessor, Peter has seen how I’ve changed – I think that’s why he nominated me for the award.
“For me, the right attitude is important. If I expect others to be professional then I have to behave the same way. The rewards go hand in hand with this.”