From industry to instructing: The HETA duo training future engineering talent

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 7 Feb 2019

Two engineering instructors who first met on the workshop floor are now encouraging others to follow in their footsteps and help train the next generation of talent.

Matt Shackleton was a workshop supervisor at Daifuku Logan in Hull when he first met Sean Edwards, who at the time was an apprentice studying at the Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA).

Matt relished the task of passing on his skills to learners such as Sean, but held a long-standing ambition to train talent at HETA.

In a surprise twist however, it was former apprentice Sean who got there first, and when he became an instructor, he remembered Matt and helped him make his dream a reality.

Now the duo are encouraging more people in the city to make the move from industry to instructing.

Inside HETA's new facility in Hull (Image: Richard Addison)

Sean’s training potential was spotted by Sarah Smith, HETA’s former workshop manager in Hull, as he completed his apprenticeship and a BSc in engineering management.

He said: “Sarah persuaded me to become a mechanical instructor. It’s very different – a lot more about managing people.

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 “You need management and communication skills and you need to be able to understand the young people.

“Matt taught me well. He always had time for people and he understood what we need to do.”

It was only a matter of time before Matt took the next step, and he found Sean a willing source of encouragement.

HETA apprentice Amy Conroy at work in the centre (Image: Richard Addison)

Cathy Bourne, HR Manager at HETA, is now looking for other engineers to shadow the teaching staff with a view to making the switch.

She said: “We are always looking for skilled engineers who want to become teachers and there is no one better to advise them than the instructors we have here who have come from industry.

 “It’s not for everybody but there are great opportunities at our sites in Hull, Scunthorpe and Stallingborough for people who can develop the management and communication skills.

“It’s very rewarding work and we offer attractive terms and conditions including generous leave entitlement, pension and healthcare.

“The country needs more engineers and it also needs more people to train them.”

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The new Hull training centre which HETA opened in August 2018 boasts a working environment which is a big improvement on its previous home at Sutton Field industrial estate.

Matt said: “We have the space and the facilities to fabricate a lot more things and create more real-world scenarios.

“It’s very similar to being in a company and I would recommend it to others in industry. The transition to education is a big one but there are a lot of people who can help.

“Sean gave me some good insight about what it’s like being an instructor at HETA and now we are both passing on our knowledge to the learners.”

Sean said: “Matt adapted to the role of instructor straight away and he’s really good – he has a lot of respect from the learners.

“He helped me a lot when I was at Daifuku Logan and I advised him about making the move to become an instructor, but there’s nothing I need to tell him about welding!”

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