Student Success - Billy

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Electrical Design Engineer: Billy Hanner

Lincoln UTC has developed a close relationship with local engineering firm Fairfield Control Systems over the last five years. In the past they have offered several work placements to our students and recruited three UTC alumni to join their team. We recently caught up with Billy Hanner, who attended the UTC from 2014-2016, to find out how he was getting on at Fairfield's...

“I have always been interested in how things work and many of my close family members are involved in the engineering industry, so prior to starting at the UTC I had already decided I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I didn't want to go down the regular A-Level route at my previous school and I was also aware that apprenticeships in my local area were very competitive, so studying at the UTC looked like a fantastic opportunity to develop my skills and help with the ultimate goal of finding a job I would love.   

Whilst I was in my final year the UTC invited a local engineering company, Fairfield Controls Systems, to deliver a presentation about their apprenticeship scheme to engineering students. Because I had already shown an interest in electrical engineering, I was asked to greet the company representatives and help them set up for their presentation. This connection was invaluable as when I subsequently applied for the apprenticeship and was invited to interview the company representatives recognised my name. I secured the apprenticeship as a direct consequence of the relationship I formed with my employers whilst at the UTC.   

I started at Fairfield’s as an Engineering Apprentice and spent time in the projects, sales, servicing and commissioning departments. Once I had completed my apprenticeship I was promoted into a full-time permanent role as an Electrical Design Engineering specialising in automation within the projects department. I was also sponsored by the company to further my qualifications through a 1-year part time BEng degree course in Control and Automaton Engineering. There is no doubt that I have achieved my goal of finding a job I love. I really enjoy designing a control system from the ground up and getting to watch it start up on-site, the more complicated the better.     

My advice to current UTC students is to take every single opportunity to attend a business lunch, presentation, or project session with an industry partner. Don’t just focus on the bigger names as some of the lesser known companies do more exciting work…you might be surprised by what piques your interest. If you have an interest in automation or electrical engineering, I can’t recommend Fairfield’s enough.”

Peter McMorrow, Fairfield’s Engineering Director, added: “Apprentices are such a vital part of our organisation and sustainability, we appreciate the need to train and develop young talented people in order to produce world class engineers for the future. We have identified Lincoln UTC as a key partner in providing students a springboard into industry and can affirm that it provides the necessary preparation and industry opportunities. Billy is a testament to how this partnership works and has a very exciting future in engineering and with Fairfields.”