Rising to the challenge
Samir Khan-Young joined Thales aged 17 as a Manufacturing Technician Modern Apprentice straight from high school. From the offset, he showed the drive, commitment and potential to not only be a respected technician who could manufacture the most complex products but also to perform highly academically. Upon completion of his MA, Samir was keen to continue challenging himself and with the support of Thales began his degree studies at Strathclyde in the first cohort of the Engineering: Design and Manufacture Graduate Apprenticeship in 2017.
As his role continued to evolve, in just three years whilst also studying his GA, Samir has not only worked on the manufacturing of products but has provided support to product design teams ensuring new products have manufacturability at the heart of their design as well as gaining additional responsibility for the design, maintenance and control of production processes in his promoted post as Manufacturing Engineer.
In my eyes, my promotion has been solely down to the GA as it has tied in very nicely with what I was doing in work and as well as what I want to do to develop and progress.
Typically, such a journey would take considerably longer but Samir's application of learning from his studies has accelerated his growth. He has also brought financial benefits for Thales through significant efficiency savings achieved from new tooling implementation to an existing process. Samir has shown professionalism and confidence beyond his years and he is keen not to stop there.
Excelling across the board
Samir's successes have not only been in this workplace. Academically his achievements have also been recognised and he has received three consecutive annual Dean's meritorious awards in his studies. Yet, when speaking to Samir, what's most striking is his modesty. Although he can confidently acknowledge his work and academic achievements, there's no hint of it being boastful. Just enthusiasm about what he does. Samir is humble, confident, hardworking and focused on what the future holds. He is always looking for what opportunity he can grasp next. For Samir, this is just the beginning.
This is just the beginning for me. It's opened up new doors. I can look at going into Design Engineering or management, opportunities that werent there before.
2020 was a significant year for Samir. In the first national lockdown, he led a team to optimise PPE design, including visor and door hook designs. Samir organised the manufacture and delivery of these specialist Health and Safety aids to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. This is a 1,677-bed acute hospital local to Thales (Glasgow). Again, he credits his GA and a module in Advanced Production Techniques. It enabled him to have the knowledge and skills to be part of a small team delivering that PPE.
Late in 2020, Samir also welcomed his first son. Once again, he has taken this additional role and significant responsibility all in his stride. 2021 got off to a great start with a nomination for the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards GA of the Year.
Stephen Francis, Samir's workplace mentor, nominated him for the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards GA of the Year following his success in his work and studies.
Samir is a role model for other apprentices within our business, having started as a Modern Apprentice. His drive, commitment and ambition to climb our industry growth path is an inspiration to others. His journey is certainly not over, but more importantly, he has achieved this with a fantastic balance of technical and personal qualities, remaining approachable and helpful to others at all times.
Stephen Francis, Industrial Architect, Thales
Emma Thursby, Apprentice Industrial Training Manager, also praised Samir for his hard work and commitment:
Samir has consistently impressed us year on year with his commitment to the business and his studies. Samir has achieved the Dean's meritorious award for each year of his degree so far, which is fantastic for him as an individual, our apprentice programme in Glasgow and Thales UK.
Samir continues to inspire his colleagues with his work ethic and attitude, most importantly for me in encouraging current apprentices to strive for excellence in their work and qualifications.
Emma Thursby, Apprentice & Industrial Training Manager, Thales
Learning on the job
Samir, like all Graduate Apprentices, is supported throughout his studies by a dedicated Work Based Learning Advisor (WBLA) who meets with him regularly to monitor progress on the programme. They support the development of his e-portfolio of work based learning evidence and claims of competence.
At Strathclyde, work based learning is not designed to be additional workplace tasks but acts as an integral part of the degree programme. This is what Samir enjoys the most about his GA programme. He notes that the later stages of study have been even more enjoyable for him. They've allowed him to get involved in a larger project in work and be responsible for a project where he normally would not have had the chance to do that.
John Sweeney, Samir's WBLA, has had the pleasure of supporting him for the past two years, during some of the most challenging stages of the GA EDM degree. This has required Samir to focus on the design, execution and reporting of each of his 60 Credit (600 hr) workplace projects in the third and fourth years of his course.
It has been a pleasure to watch Samir develop and grow personally and professionally. He is an excellent role model to his fellow students. The EDM Graduate Apprenticeship programme has a Rising Star in its ranks.
John Sweeney, Graduate Apprentice Learning Advisor
It's clear from Samir, and everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him, that the GA is a springboard for what is destined to be a hugely successful career in engineering.
Strathclyde's EDM Degree
The Graduate Apprenticeship Engineering: Design and Manufacture (EDM) degree develops professionally qualified engineers eligible for IEng level membership. Graduate Apprentices acquire underpinning knowledge and understanding via a blended and online learning delivery mode with core engineering competencies (UK Standards for Professional Engineering Competence, IEng) being developed through an integrated work based learning curriculum.
Graduate Apprenticeships are an opportunity for organisations to not only broaden the talent pool by recruiting new staff into their business but also to develop existing employees, like Samir. Employers can nominate individuals who are in a suitable job role, which will enable them to complete the work based learning elements of the programme.