Welding Apprentice Journey (Apprentice Diaries)

Welding Apprentice Journey (Apprentice Diaries)

Written by Oliver Muscat on March 13th 2024

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We spoke to Donald Whitehead, one of our Welding Apprentices on his overall experience so far studying his Fabrication & Welding apprenticeship and how he is developing.

How’s your course going so far?

I’m more than happy with my apprenticeship journey. At Rochdale Training I’m picking up knowledge faster than expected. Coming to work at Hargreaves is enjoyable and I like to ask for more tasks as soon as I’ve completed one.

Rochdale Training

How's your relationship with your training provider?

My training provider is Rochdale Training and Ryan, my tutor works well to make sure everyone is learning at the highest standards. He involves himself when needed apart from the Test Pieces practical work as they need to be solely completed by us. Matthew comes into Hargreaves to give us reviews on how we are doing and to check on our welfare.

Is it a different environment at Rochdale Training and at work?

At Hargreaves you are in a large unique factory surrounded by experience and at Rochdale Training its all about learning. My first test piece was a toolbox. Before that I did a range of shelves, phone holders and 2D shapes to get used to to the cutting. When we do these models I write a step by step of how I’ve created them and then a risk assessment.

Does that help in your overall development?

At Rochdale Training it’s beneficial to succeeding as everyone around you wants to qualify. I enjoy giving and receiving advice to the people in my class.



How has it balanced with your day job?

The balance is easy to handle. My time’s split between attending Rochdale Training one week of the month and the other three weeks is at Hargreaves. The other type of learning I do for my apprenticeship is my Off The Job hours. For example I took time do my tutor work that needed ticking off and my stacker training. But anything I am doing at Hargreaves I am also learning too, recently I completed my welding code which went down as Off The Job. However we are always learning whilst on the job from the others in the factory and through shadowing.

drawings from our engineers

What have you learnt that has been beneficial to the work at Hargreaves?

Some things I have learnt that has helped working at Hargreaves is analysing the drawings from our engineers and what they key is. At first it was difficult to read and understand it but now it feels like second nature. Using the guillotine, knocking up joggled edges and swages into the metal I have learnt in my practical work. I have an understanding of the tasks at hand much clearer and doing a satisfied amount of work for Hargreaves. After completing my welding code I’ve been dabbling in the welding side this year. I look to progress further with more coding’s and understanding.


"This place allows you to excel efficiently and the opportunities available are vast. Apprenticeships are an ever-growing option to learn, earn and work on the job."

Donald Whitehead

Fabrication & Welding Apprentice

Track our Apprenticeship journeys

We are tracking the journey of all our apprentices throughout the weeks so make sure you look out for the upcoming stories on their course. For further information about careers and apprenticeships at Exyte Hargreaves, please visit our Careers section.

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1872 is our online blog and digital magazine. We’ll bring you news and events from around the business, as well as thoughts and opinions on the topics resonating within our industry.