Foundry Technical Apprentice Case Study

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Nathan Tucker - Foundry Technical Apprentice – Thomas Dudley

Nathan Tucker began an apprenticeship within Thomas Dudley’s foundry division in 2013. Engineering was an automatic career choice given the fact that several members of Nathan’s family were already employed within the profession.

Engineering a Better Future

After leaving school, Nathan studied ‘A’ Levels at Halesowen College before deciding to embark upon an engineering apprenticeship. His father, who works for GKN manufacturing Rolls Royce drive shafts, was influential in the career choice and actually helped Nathan to secure work experience at GKN during the summer holiday.

Nathan explained “the work experience was really useful and enabled me to earn money whilst learning a number of new skills including how to read engineering drawings. Being at work really did open my eyes. The workplace is very different to school and things like timekeeping are important because if you’re late, you don’t get paid!” 

After the summer, Nathan went to Sandwell Training Association to start an apprenticeship. However, only around half the people who started, finished that particular course. Shortly afterwards, Nathan saw the position at Thomas Dudley and applied. Paul Lewis, Foundry Technical Manager at Thomas Dudley, added “we needed to invest in apprentices and therefore held an open day. We saw about 7 people and Nathan really stood out”.

Nathan has continued his apprenticeship and is currently undertaking Level 3 which he should complete in June.  He plans to then study a foundation degree via distance learning through Bradford University as none of his local Universities are able to offer such a degree. The company will pay the fees and Paul Lewis will provide additional mentoring and support. 

Nathan’s typical day involves coordinating new products, production planning, pattern and core making, casting, metal preparation, casting finishing and checking dimensions by 3D scanning.

Why Choose This Route?

Nathan chose the apprentice route as he felt it would provide a springboard into the engineering profession. He is delighted with his decision and added “my apprenticeship is really challenging, I thoroughly enjoy it and none of my friends are doing what I am doing”.

The Organisation

Thomas Dudley’s foundry division provides the complete engineering solution for cast iron components from design and patternmaking to manufacturing, bespoke finishing, warehousing and delivery. The company’s castings are used in a diverse range of industry sectors including the automotive, energy, oil, hydraulics and catering markets. Thomas Dudley also manufactures the UK’s largest range of construction and plumbing castings.