Diego Lopez – Mechanical Design
8 months ago

I prefer to study while working and earning.”

After A-levels Diego knew that he didn’t want to go to university. It didn’t feel like the right option for him. He was interested in exploring engineering career opportunities. Read how Diego went on to do an apprenticeship in Mechanical Design and is now a Mechanical Designer at Brioche Pasquier.

Diego’s Story  

“I started looking at apprenticeships before A-level exams, as I knew I wasn’t going to go to university. I just wasn’t sure it was the best option for me. I prefer to study while working and earning, and I feel there are many opportunities in engineering in this country.

It was easy to find one online. I used the apprenticeship vacancies page on the MK College website. On Sunday night I applied, on Monday morning I received a call from college, on Tuesday I went to college for an interview, then the following week I had an interview with the employer and got the offer.

Like most people straight from school I was quite nervous, but the interview was more of an informal chat. The person interviewing me was friendly and put me at ease.

I started my 4-year Level 3 Apprenticeship in Mechanical Design in 2018, when I was 18. My first employer was Harland Simon UPS, then I moved to a new role at Winterhalter, a German dishwashing company. I worked there until March 2020, when I was furloughed due to the pandemic.

In September 2020 my college tutor saw a role advertised at Brioche Pasquier, so I applied and was successful. I’ve been with the company nearly two years.

I also began my Level 4 HNC in 2020, sponsored by my employer. Now I’m looking to do my Level 5 HND and then top it up to a degree while working and earning.

My biggest achievement so far has been at Brioche Pasquier. I’ve been involved in the building of a new production line – part of improvements to make sure the line works effectively. It’s involved mechanical design and making improvements in the machinery.

I’m also proud to have now been offered a permanent contract at Brioche Pasquier, with a training agreement to allow me to have one day off a week to do my HND.  

MK College has been great. My workplace trainer Craig has been brilliant throughout – helping me to find a new employer after being furloughed in the pandemic.

On the teaching side, my engineering tutors are always willing to put time aside. They’re very flexible and willing to give up time to help you – especially when it comes to completing the bigger projects.

My goal is to become a fully qualified design engineer. Brioche Pasquier has exciting projects, like extending the site and implementing all five production lines. Short to medium term I want to investigate getting into management and gaining as much experience as I can.”

Diego’s advice to anyone considering apprenticeships:

“I’d recommend the engineering apprenticeship route. I’ve worked at three different companies, one French, one English, one German, and it’s opened my eyes to how different all businesses are.”

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