Meet Our Apprentices: Jess

Fabrication Apprentice

Jess joined KMF at 16 and was KMF's second female apprentice. Since joining us 3 years ago Jess has enjoyed the variety within her role and has gained extensive experience in many departments such as folding, weld, powder coating and assembly and integration.

Jess also competed in the 2018 National Skills Show, taking on sheet metalwork apprentices from across the country.

Name: Jess Mitchell
Role: 3rd year Engineering Manufacture apprentice at KMF Precision Sheet Metal
Favourite Food: Lasagne
No1 Netflix Show: Peaky Blinders
Most played Artist on your playlist: Adele
Favourite fabrication discipline: Metal Folding

When did you first become interested in engineering?

At high school. I chose engineering as one of my options and I really enjoyed the hands-on, practical aspect of the course. When I left school at 16, I started looking for an apprenticeship so I could gain more qualifications whilst ensuring most of my day-to-day learning would be 'hands-on' rather than in a classroom.

How would you sum up your apprenticeship?

Varied. I love the variety of the work, I'm challenged everyday with what I'm doing. I have worked across all of KMF's departments including folding, weld, powder coating and assembly and integration.

It can be challenging at some points because you have to juggle academic work with your work in the main production facility. We move around during the programme and work on different projects depending on the business needs, and because of that we gain a broad range of skills from each department.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Competing in the National World Skills competition. We spent 3 days at the NEC in Birmingham competing against other sheet metalwork apprentices from across the country which was really fun. We had to jump out of our comfort zone and manufacture a garden oven grill in under 18 hours, independently working on everything from pattern development, forming, welding and linishing/graining to gain a mark out of 100.

You were recently crowned 'Community Champion of the Year' at KMF's Annual Apprentice Awards, how was that?

Yes, it was great to be recognised. All apprentices are challenged to do 50 hours of community service which can involve anything from careers fayres to helping out at charity events. One of the major projects that I worked on was the manufacture of 1000 metal poppies which we then sold to commemorate remembrance Sunday. It was great project management experience and it was good to spend a bit of time working on something different that would benefit others.

How have your skills improved since starting your apprenticeship?

I've obviously developed my precision fabrication skills, particularly welding. I've learnt how to weld different materials such as stainless and aluminium and now I can work on more complex customer products.

When you first start your apprenticeship you are based in the training workshop with your training mentor but you quickly move to the main fabrication facility and now I'm trusted to work on complex production jobs independently.

I really enjoy working as part of a wider team, everyone is really nice and so I've definitely improved my communication skills, but I also think I've grown in my independence and improved my time-management skills as I regularly have to complete projects or production runs on my own.

What are your plans once you have completed your apprenticeship at KMF?

I would like to gain a permanent role, hopefully within KMF's CNC folding department and then work towards a leadership role, so maybe become a senior team leader or team leader of a department.

If you have any questions regarding our award-winning engineering apprenticeships, please email us or give us a call 01782 569060.

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