Jake Wilshaw completed his Advanced Apprenticeship at Siemens in Congleton at the end of March, and has also achieved a HNC in Manufacturing Engineering with Distinction. Always interested in aircraft and motorsport, he found that an apprenticeship suited him over the traditional university route. He preferred the emphasis on practical learning rather than exams, and has progressed rapidly. He works for Siemens (Digital Factory), manufacturing variable frequency inverters, used in applications such as rollercoasters and baggage handling facilities.
Jake is an integral member of the Industrial Engineering department, working to support manufacturing operations using industry leading software and techniques. His varied workload has seen him create 3D virtual reality designs of future factory layouts, reducing a critical process within the design stage from 4 weeks to 5 days. Jake is passionate about continuous improvement and has worked tirelessly to enable process optimisation to be realised across the shop floor.
His contribution to the business has resulted in over £230,000 cost savings and Jake has been recognised by a number of prestigious awards during his short career.
Jake has been a STEM ambassador for three years, working within the local community to engage school children to viewing engineering as a viable career option. He mentored 70 school children aged 11-14 in after school sessions during the 'Siemens Rollercoaster Challenge’.
“This is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” he explains. “I really enjoy inspiring the next generation of engineers, seeing intelligent young people become enthused about what a career in engineering can offer them. Irrespective of their abilities, there is an apprenticeship to suit everyone.”
He has given presentations on the importance of apprenticeships and championed them nationally, including at the Houses of Parliament. He is also treasurer for the Siemens Congleton charity committee, helping to raise and distribute donations among local and national charities, focusing on improving quality of life and social integration.
Looking forward, Jake hopes to achieve a Master’s degree and become a Chartered Engineer. He plans to use the prize money to self-fund his Lean Six-Sigma training to achieve ‘Black-Belt’ status. Jake is excited about the fourth industrial revolution, where technology will enhance manufacturing. “Industry 4.0 is allowing the UK to show the world that we are shaping the future of engineering and are leading the way with technology and innovation.”
Dr John McVey, Siemens National Apprenticeship Contracts Manager was delighted to support Jake: “Siemens invests a lot of time and effort in making sure that our apprentice and graduate development schemes produce the best engineers in the UK, if not the world. Jake is a perfect example of the rationale behind this investment and supporting processes. Throughout his apprenticeship Jake naturally demonstrated the key traits and behaviours that would be expected in a professional young engineer. His drive for achievement and success is a pleasure to see and his passion for engineering was exemplified by Jake completing his apprenticeship 18 months earlier than planned.”
Jake reflects on being the Institution’s Apprentice of the Year: “I am genuinely honoured and proud to win this award. I believe the main reason for my success is my work ethic and passion for engineering. I enjoy coming to work every day and being able to make a difference!”
The runners up were:
• Sam Harris from the Ford Motor Company
• Corey Craig from BAE Systems
The judges, Andrew Livesey and Robert Dewhurst, commended all three finalists, saying they were exemplary winners and, wishing them all luck with their future studies and careers.
About the Bryan Hildrew Apprentice of the Year Award
This award has been running since 2010. In 2014 it became the Bryan Hildrew Apprentice of the Year Award in recognition of Bryan Hildrew, a former apprentice and President of the Institution.
Bryan Hildrew did his apprenticeship with the North Eastern Marine Engine Works, Sunderland. He attended Sunderland Technical College, and studied for an external degree at London University and joined the Royal Navy as an Engineer Officer after completing his apprenticeship.
After a successful career in research, and travelling the world, he became the Technical Director at Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. Bryan Hildrew became the President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1980.
To win this award, apprentices must demonstrate outstanding study skills, and show how they have made a positive difference to their company. They should have gone above and beyond their normal duties, often taking on extra responsibilities.
Any charity or voluntary work is relevant, especially related to engineering and encouraging young people into engineering. Apprentices must also show a commitment to professional development and a career plan for the next three to five years.
Find out more about the Bryan Hildrew Apprentice of the Year Award