Sam’s all set for a first-class career
Sharing news of success with your family is always great, but for Sam Hedley telling his grandad Harry he had graduated with a first in Civil Engineering was extra special because it was the first time the pair had seen each other since Harry began shielding back in March.
As a former Chartered Engineer himself Harry was rightly proud of Sam’s efforts as was Sam’s Dad, Paul, who is a qualified mechanical engineer.
“Grandad was over the moon for me. But he’s is a lot cleverer than me!” jokes Sam. “I think as much as he and my dad are proud of me there is always that attitude of ‘you could do better’.”
It’s hard to see quite how. Because at the age of just 23, with five years’ site experience and his latest qualification, gained on day release at Leeds University, under his belt, Sam has certainly made a fantastic start to what promises to be a very successful career.
Sam undertook some work experience on our sites while doing his A-Levels, as a result of which we offered to sponsor him through his studies on day release. He jumped at the opportunity, joining us from school at the age of 18 and getting straight to work.
Since then he has been a member of our inhouse Design Group, based at our Nissan site in Sunderland, where he has been mentored, primarily by Chief Design Engineer Roger Wilkins.
Sam says the combination of university studies and site work complemented each other well and helped reinforce what he was learning both in the classroom and at work.
“When I started in the first year, the couple of months I’d had on site seeing how things worked was a massive advantage compared to people who’d just come from school and had no site experience,” he says.
“In terms of work, Roger understood that I’d just come from school and I was going to take a while to bed into the role. For him it was about gauging what I was learning and how much I knew and then marrying that up with the jobs I could do on site.
“If I hadn’t yet done something at university, he would sit and run me through it and then when it came to studying that module at uni I was going over what I already knew.”
There were challenges, of course, in balancing the day job and studying, but Sam is grateful for the practical support provided by the company and his regional management team.
This included things like paying for his travel to university, providing sufficient time off to attend lectures and making sure his workload was manageable and that work got covered while he was away.
Sam would certainly recommend the earning as you are learning route as a way into the industry.
“The experience aspect is massive because it helps you with your studies and because when you graduate you have a much better understanding of the industry and the company. You also have that bit of job security when you are sponsored.”
Looking to the future Graduate Design Engineer Sam’s next goal is to become chartered as soon as he can.
We’re sure he’ll be successful and hopefully notch up another achievement to make Grandad proud.