Dave Jones - Head of Operations and member of Seta Alumni

Why did you apply for an apprenticeship, as opposed to college and what was it like then compared to now?

I applied for an apprenticeship because of the opportunities and doors that it opens. I was always interested in engineering and hands-on skills but wanted a route that gave me the knowledge as well as the skills for a lasting career. My brothers are both engineers and this allowed me to see that an apprenticeship can open up career opportunities that would not have been possible without it. The salaries are certainly one big change from when I served my time. Employers are investing a lot of money in apprenticeships and apprentice education more than ever.


Talk me through your own career journey and your current role within Seta.

I initially started my apprenticeship as a Toolmaker with a company called Perlos. The first year of training at Seta set me on my path and gave me the confidence to learn, make mistakes and develop myself with not just engineering but my own personal skills. I went back to my employer better prepared and understanding that the more I learned, the more I invested in myself and that investment would pay off in my career. Seta supported me throughout my apprenticeship and I earned my indentures as a time-served Toolmaker.

Since Perlos I worked for various machining companies, taking my skills with me and always using every opportunity to develop. I have been enrolled on various courses to develop my career including my Nebosh Health and Safety qualification which built on my knowledge and allowed me to be more adaptive in my career.

I kept in touch with my former mentor at Seta and he told me that there was a teaching post available at Seta so I applied, the rest is history. I never considered teaching before but I knew how vital Seta was in my career so I snapped up the opportunity to give back and give the same opportunity to the next generation of apprentices. I have been at Seta for the last 14 years and in that time have furthered myself with a degree in Health and Safety as well as two promotions. I currently work as Head of Operations at Seta supporting the investment of training and resources in the apprentices as well as planning their training programmes.


What are the benefits of apprenticeships for employers and young people?

Apprenticeships can have a stigma attached, that it’s just for those who can’t get into college. Far from it. Apprenticeships give the same qualifications that can be achieved on a College course with the benefits of having far more opportunities and having the ability to develop long-lasting skills, developing you academically as well as developing yourself personally.


What would you advise someone considering an apprenticeship with Seta?

I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Seta and I certainly wouldn’t have joined Seta as an employee if I didn’t believe in the good work and support Seta staff provide. I would advise anyone to seek out apprenticeship opportunities and to remember apprenticeships and apprenticeships in Engineering support long-lasting careers with many opportunities to grow and develop new skills and abilities. And of course, getting paid for all of that has its benefits too.