An Interview with Andrew Cooke: Part Two
Andrew Cooke, Trainee Technical Engineer at EOGB, looks back over the second year of his apprenticeship…
What particular skills and experience have you gained in your second year?
I have built on the skills established in my first year and added to my experience of working on different appliances in our R&D area, whilst also undertaking various training courses and shadowing colleagues on site visits.
One particularly enjoyable site visit, in Manchester, allowed me to work alongside the TGB 210 ME burners, with the ‘O2 and CO trim’, which reduces the amount of excess air and increases the overall combustion efficiency. It was great to see this technology in use as I had only ever worked on it during the Baltur training course in Bologna, Italy.
In terms of the training courses, my second year has involved gaining all of my OFTEC qualifications (101, 102, 105E, 600A), and the OFTEC 201 multi-stage commercial burner course. All of which were very thorough and beneficial to my work, and well-designed for people just starting out in the industry and engineers of all experience levels.
How would you say each year has compared? Any major differences?
I’ve found my second year particularly enjoyable, as I’ve been able to get the most out of every opportunity and learning experience with my better understanding of products, processes and improved industry knowledge. I’ve been able to draw value from every aspect of the apprenticeship through self-study, R&D projects, site visits and the training courses too.
Any highlights? Things you really enjoyed?
I really enjoyed working on our fully modulating blue flame burner; testing it on different fuels, on different heat exchangers and testing various modifications on the burner. It was also great being able to test different OpenTherm controls – one of the key features on the Sapphire burner, and a defining feature for the future of the domestic heating industry. I have also been able to test different variants of heat exchangers ranging from 7 to 32 kW.
Has anything surprised you or exceeded expectation?
It’s been particularly great to work with EOGB’s versatile products – ranging from burners for domestic use, through to commercial, industrial and bespoke options like 12v or 24v versions of our X Series, made for specialist applications like road marking vehicles.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be moving onto my Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Engineering Technical Support, which will involve working on SolidWorks, producing technical sales materials and moving on to complete all relevant ACS gas qualifications.
Any final advice for anyone thinking about an apprenticeship?
Attend as much training as possible, make the most of every learning opportunity and take the time to consider who you’re going to train with. Completing my apprenticeship with EOGB has given me an unique experience, working with a variety of innovative burners and incredibly knowledgeable people, that I wouldn’t have had access to elsewhere.