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Bath College Apprenticeship

Case Study, Sidney Copus

Sidney Copus is one of Bath College’s talented Apprentices. Sidney currently works for Space Engineering, alongside studying at Bath College. He recently took Gold at the 2019 WorldSkills championships, and despite this incredible achievement, is still keeping his head down and learning as much as he can from his apprenticeship. 

We did a short Q&A with Sidney to find out about how he was finding his apprenticeship, and how he felt about taking Gold at the 2019 WorldSkills. Read on to find out more.

What Apprenticeship did you study at Bath College?

Level 2 Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps, currently studying for level 3 at Bath. 


What was the most enjoyable aspect of your apprenticeship?

Probably learning to join pipework with flame brazing. There's quite an art to it, but once you've got the hang of it and can consistently make strong, good looking joints it's so satisfying to do.


What was the most valuable thing you learned on your apprenticeship?

It might sound cheesy but a bit of self-belief! I always thought of myself as more academic than hands-on, so to be able to develop those practical skills and go on to compete and win in a skills competition was a great feeling and gave me a lot more confidence.


What made you apply to do an apprenticeship with Bath College?

Bath is one of the few colleges in the country to provide a refrigeration course, and it has a good reputation in the industry. The college also has a good relationship with my company through sending lots of our staff here to study.


How did you come to enter WorldSkills?

I asked my tutor Simon Robinson if I could take part in the qualifying tests. At that time, I wasn't expecting to even make the main competition, I just thought it would be good experience and wanted to see how my skills were coming along compared to the rest of the class.


How do you feel about winning Gold at WorldSkills?

It's a great feeling, and I'm happy to have won it for Bath College and for Space Engineering. It's definitely great to get my name out a bit in the industry, but at the same time I'm not reading too much in to it. I know I still have a lot to learn!


What are you doing now?

I'm an improver service engineer for Space Engineering Services, working in supermarket refrigeration.


What is your typical day like?

I'll generally speak with my line manager in the morning, he will have chosen a job or several for the day appropriate to my skill level and I'll drive to site, which can be up to a couple of hours away. After that it's completely variable, I could be changing a failed electronic component, repairing a refrigerant leak or just collecting parts for a more experienced engineer. Every day is different.


What piece of advice would you give to students looking to apply for an Apprenticeship?

My main piece of advice would be to always be on the lookout for different opportunities to learn, and to make sure you're actively trying to improve your skills. You will improve slowly over time, but if you're actively looking for feedback, trying different ways of doing things and being self-critical you'll learn so much faster, and be a lot better at what you do by the time you qualify.

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