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"It was only until I went to Skills London that I was exposed to different opportunities" John Cangson, Thales Rail Engineering Apprentice tells us more

Friday, March 2, 2018
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"It was only until I went to Skills London that I was exposed to different opportunities" John Cangson, Thales Rail Engineering Apprentice tells us more

Tell us about the apprenticeship scheme you are on at Thales?

The Thales apprenticeship scheme is a 3 year programme. We focus mainly in developing knowledge and experience in the railway where we spend a significant time for the first year studying in Prospects College in Basildon. Once we have achieved the knowledge of electrics and electronics and health and safety we then join different teams within the company in order to be exposed to the rail environment. At the end of the three year programme, apprentices will be qualified assistant testers making them fully equipped and begin promising careers from there.

Had you thought about doing an apprenticeship before you attended Skills London?

Before Skills London, I was mainly focused on trying to get into university and study Law. My sixth form was mainly university based, so the thought of going through the apprenticeship route did not come to mind. It was only until I went to Skills London that I was exposed to different opportunities and speaking to different exhibitors made me realise that university isn’t the only route to take.

Where did you first find out about the Thales apprenticeship scheme?

I first found out about the Thales apprenticeship scheme at Skills London 2013, where I visited the Thales stand and spoke to one of the apprentices about the apprenticeship scheme. Danny Anderson who was a 1st year apprentice at the time provided me with the information and knowledge about what the Thales apprenticeship scheme offers.

What was the process of getting on to the apprenticeship scheme, from initial enquires through to being selected for the scheme?

I went on the Thales apprenticeship website where I submitted my CV to be assessed. A few weeks later I got an email from Thales, inviting me for an assessment day in Crawley where the main Thales headquarters is based.  The assessment day was tough, it involved group work activity to show how well we can work as a team, the second part of the day was the interview stage and the last part of the day was writing a letter to Victor Chavez CEO of Thales Group UK about ‘Why should Victor Chavez choose you to be part of Thales’.

Tell us about your experience so far as an apprentice at Thales?

I feel grateful to be part of the Thales apprenticeship scheme. As an apprentice, every day is a new challenge. I spent a year in college focusing on my PEO’s and NVQ in completion of my Level 3 Engineering. The training and knowledge I gained from college allowed me to practice the skills I’ve learned in the field of work. Within the last year I’ve focused mainly in trying to get as much experience in the railway industry and achieving my assistant tester’s license. I was placed in Manchester working under the TMS network as a MOD 5 tester under supervision and now I’m working back in London involved in the new 4LM project transforming the Circle, Hammersmith and City Line, Metropolitan and District line.

What are your future plans with Thales?

At the moment my main focus is acquiring my assistant tester’s license. I would also like to be involved in projects abroad.

Would you recommend doing an apprenticeship and why?

I would recommend doing an apprenticeship because it is more of an exciting way to learn because you get paid and you get to practice the skills you have learned in a working environment. Companies such as Thales help apprentices within the company to develop their skills and make the most out of your talents in order to build a great future for yourself and the company.

Would you recommend young people to attend Skills London and why?

Skills London provided me with a platform to discover my career route, which has helped me understand the values of working within a team and taking initiative. It’s the first step towards a brighter future, because it opens your eyes to different opportunities that are right for you.


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