Dan – Hardware engineer

As a secondary school student, I took five GCSEs (A – C), achieved in various subjects, and followed an apprentice scheme with the defence and aerospace company, BAE Systems. Now I am a fully qualified Hardware Engineer that builds, tests and fault finds on Eurofighter aircraft helmets for the company.

I have flexible working hours so I can work at my desk for a little while before going to a lab to either build electronic circuits or test pilots helmets. This means I also have time to keep up my interests in extreme sports: skating and BMXing followed by kick boxing.

I believe that such an apprenticeship scheme can satisfy any young person’s expectations and beyond. The skills that are gained and the experiences learned can set a student up for a great future.

I do work for a generous company that offers chances to further your career in different ways (BAE Systems is known to encourage likely employees to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award, for instance,) but I advise those looking towards their first steps into the wider world to follow their passion. Be sure of what path you want to follow, either through university or an apprenticeship, and then just apply wherever your interests lie. Try not to hesitate for too long as the opportunities will just come and go. Everyone (no matter how clever you are) is capable of great things, you just need to trust in yourself and go for it.