UTCO student lands dreamed-of Dyson apprenticeship

A student who set his heart on landing an apprenticeship with Dyson three years ago, having first heard about it at a school assembly has only gone and done it!

Charlie Shaw from UTC Oxfordshire is off to the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology where he will follow a four-year MEng apprenticeship in Engineering.

He says: “I found out about this apprenticeship when I was in Year 10 from one of the engineering teachers at an assembly probably aimed at the older years. I was inspired from that moment and I knew then I was going to try my best to get a place on that course.

“I’m now so excited to start at Dyson – I love the way that the company has evolved over the years and its openness into how it has changed and grown. It hasn’t stood still and many risks have been taken to get to where it is now as a multi-national business.

“On a personal level I’m looking forward to learning and earning some money – it pays a bit more than an average apprenticeship, and also to the travel opportunities offered.”

Campus DIET

Charlie will spend his first year living on campus in a modular pod in the Dyson Village – including its perks of free gym, food, clubs, healthcare. He will spend roughly a third of his time in lectures to study for his Masters degree, and the rest working on live projects at Dyson.

“The first two years will be a general overview of the main genres of engineering, where I will go on three-to-six-month rotations of projects. After the second year I will choose a subsection to specialise in – either software engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering or electromechanical engineering.

“In the third year I will get the opportunity to work in Singapore for six months on placement to the manufacturing HQ.

“I am looking forward to doing as much as I can. I will rotate throughout modules working on real projects alongside real engineers, and I cannot wait to gain the most experience as I possibly can from lecturers, future colleagues and classmates.”

Why did he choose engineering as the field to take his career in? “It’s an ever-growing industry that brings new challenges daily,” he says. “The term ‘engineer’ is so vast that it gives anyone the opportunity to be what they want and is a gift to those who want to solve problems and be a part of developing a better world.”

Aware that these apprenticeship places are extremely competitive, Charlie wasn’t surprised that the interview process was challenging. “The application consisted of an online cognitive test where they tested maths ability with confusing questions given in a long-worded manner with only three minutes to answer each one. There was also an online interview where we had five minutes to prepare for each question and then record ourselves giving our answer – it was very strange as you were just talking to a computer and not a person!”

But Charlie wasn’t fazed and is sure his UTC background helped enormously in getting through the interview process. “Being at UTC was the biggest aid to me – being able to speak about different life experiences that set me apart from everyone else and coping with quite challenging maths and cognitive tests.”

He also puts the fact that he was relaxed with those interviewing him down to the professional yet relaxed environment the UTC operates in. “I didn’t see myself as any different from the interviewers as I have gotten comfortable with just seeing important people as just people and not a figure of power that I should feel nervous around.

“UTC Oxfordshire runs on a culture of trust, which gave me and my friends the freedom to experiment and grow our own minds the way that we wanted over a set curriculum. I would recommend it to anyone – I really don’t know where I’d be without it.”

Charlie’s advice to others aiming big is this: “This dream of mine was questioned by countess people over the years and it only fuelled me to want to succeed more and more, so don’t belittle yourself. Anything that you have done – no matter how big or small is a huge accomplishment. Believe that you can do anything as this is the mindset that you need to have. There is no such thing as failure – you either get what you want or you learn something new, so keep pushing and never give up on what you want.”

Well done Charlie; we look forward to hearing about your progress through this apprenticeship.



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