People Stories – Kieron Malster’s Proserv Apprenticeship
Kieron Malster is an Electronics Assembly Technician for Proserv at our Artemis House facility in Great Yarmouth. Having recently completed his apprenticeship with Proserv, we sat down with Kieron to discuss his apprenticeship journey over the past four years.
You’ve recently completed a four year apprenticeship with Proserv. Why did you decide to become an apprentice?
I have always been more of a hands-on learner, so endless hours in a classroom really did not appeal. I always wanted to get into industry as fast as I could to pick up key practical skills and experience. This made an apprenticeship perfect for me.
Describe a typical day during your apprenticeship
A typical day would start with a morning brief, relaying any recent company news like project awards and safety themes, before moving onto the tasks to be carried out that day. At the start of my apprenticeship I shadowed a qualified technician on a project, picking up workshop skills along the way. I worked in many different areas, to help discover my strengths and areas of interest. Towards the end of my apprenticeship I was at a point where I was competent in my work. I could work independently to run my own project. I also discovered the area of work I wanted to pursue in my career.
What has been the most challenging aspect about being an apprentice?
I would say I initially found it challenging being in an environment with so many experienced, qualified technicians. I was aware that my skills were very limited to begin with.
I soon realised this was nothing to worry about. No one expects you to be brilliant when you first start as that’s the whole point of the apprenticeship. If you’re hardworking and dedicated, you will learn and develop your skills over time. Some of the guys here have been in the industry their whole lives and have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to the next generation.
What has been the most rewarding aspect about being an apprentice?
I think the most rewarding thing was being able to work on a variety of mechanical, electrical, electronic, topside and subsea projects. This really helped me determine what I wanted to do in the future. I feel like, without this, I may have ended up working in an area I was not enthusiastic about, which could have prevented me from reaching my full potential.
Another mention would be Proserv recognising my ambitions and giving me additional opportunities to develop and further my career. My manager (Lee McLean – Manufacturing Manager) has given me a lot of support. He has been a brilliant mentor over the last year. At the beginning of my final year he gave me the opportunity to lead a team of electronics technicians. I am still doing this now. It’s something I truly enjoy and has helped me to set my goal of pursuing a career in management.
What area of expertise are you now working in?
My main area now is the Artemis 2G subsea electronics module (A2G SEM). I was taught how to build them by shadowing and being mentored by a qualified electronics assembly technician. Eventually I got to a level of competency where I can build them on my own.
I was initally nervous about working on such an intricate, key component for our subsea control modules (SCM). However, the electronics technicians have been building them for many years now, so I was taught by the best. I now oversee the build and test of these A2G SEMs, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our building/testing processes. In addition, we are planning for future growth to expand our production capacity in Great Yarmouth.
I think technology is something that sets us apart. Our SCMs are proven to be some of the most reliable in the industry. We are seeing a lot of new projects come in where we apply our technology and engineer it to coexist with existing subsea equipment. This is something that not many companies are prepared to do.
What has been your favourite memory from throughout the apprenticeship?
A highlight for me would the team building week we went to through the Outward Bound Trust. Myself, three other apprentices from Great Yarmouth and about seven apprentices from various other Proserv sites in the UK got the chance to go away to the Lake District for a week. The week was filled with team building activities: hiking, raft building, canyoning, kayaking, camping, and plenty more.
We had a brilliant time, meeting apprentices from other sites and finding out what they do and finding out more about the business. It was a great experience overall that I never would have done without Proserv organising the trip.
Now that your apprenticeship has finished, what are your ambitions for the future?
I plan on moving into management later in my career, but there are many opportunities that may pop up along the way. There are so many examples here at Proserv of apprentices progressing through the company. Some have gone on to be team leaders, project managers, sales reps, engineers and department managers. It is always good to keep your options open. As Proserv operates in multiple countries, opportunities come up to relocate as well.
What would you say to those thinking about going down the apprenticeship route?
I think the main two options are normally to get an apprenticeship, or complete A-Levels and university. There is nothing wrong with either of these choices. You just need to find out what suits you.
If you are the type of person who likes to get stuck in with practical work and wants to get into industry sooner, then an apprenticeship is the way to go. You’ll become a valued member of a team with experience, and from this point, the only way is up.
I am looking forward to being a part of the future of Proserv, as there are exciting times ahead!