Sam Bates is a graduate of the Engineering Institute of Technology who recently earned his 52708WA - Advanced Diploma of Industrial Automation. He works in the automation industry in the United Kingdom and is employed as a controls engineer. But, it has been a journey to get to where he is today. Sam says:

“I left school at the tender age of 16 and went to engineering college to learn the very basics in engineering. While I was there, I got offered an apprenticeship at a local engineering company called Finishing Design Services. They build special purpose machinery and wanted to employ me as a panel wirer with the option to progress in future years if I had the right attitude.”

Leaving school as early as he did, and needing experience, he took the apprenticeship. He would go on to be a panel wirer for four years while he completed his National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and apprenticeship.

“As promised, the company offered to pay for me to complete a HNC in electrical and electronic engineering at university for one day and evening a week for two years. I accepted and continued to develop, now doing more skilled work at my company, such as editing electrical drawings, powering up machinery and getting introduced to software.”

Once he had completed his Higher National Certificate (HNC), he decided to slow down on studying and continued to gain work experience and develop his skills in the workplace. He began designing the electrical schematics for small projects and writing PLC software for them.

He spent seven years at Finishing Design Services and was ready to move on. Sam moved to London. There, he worked as an engineering technician at a company named Suncombe Ltd. The company manufactures process machinery. However, he had a feeling that the qualifications he had earned were not quite enough to reach the career aspirations he had.

“I progressed within that company to commissioning the software and servicing existing machinery. This is where I decided to take up the Advanced Diploma of Industrial Automation to develop my knowledge.”

Upon graduating from the course, Sam was looking to level up once moreso he began looking for controls engineer jobs. He eventually landed a job at a new company named ATM Automation.

He has since been with the company for six months, writing and commissioning software for automation machinery.

Sam believes the engineering industry has changed his life and encourages young people to heavily consider going into engineering. He said:

“I cannot understand why young people do not want to jump into any kind of engineering type of work. I would encourage young people to get an apprenticeship once finishing school, or after their A levels* - and to study part time while they work. This would give them the practical experience that employers desire and the opportunity to develop their knowledge.”

Equipped with his Advanced Diploma, he is confident in his job and ready for more challenges that the engineering industry can throw at him. As he continues growing his skill set, Sam expects to become a senior controls in engineer in the next ten years.

*a public examination requiring advanced knowledge in a subject and taken at the end of secondary school in the United Kingdom.