Caroline Delaney is a TTS Heavy Vehicle Technician Apprentice working at Donnelly Group. She is currently completing level 2 in preparation for moving to the next level in September. Caroline was recognised for her obvious talent early on in her apprentice career when she was put forward to represent her employer in the 2019 Export & Freight Apprentice of the Year competition.
I started in Mechanical Engineering at Bangor SERC and got my level 3 and used that to go into Aerospace Engineering at Queens, but I did my first year and didn’t really enjoy it. It was all in a classroom; there was no hands on. I enjoyed what I was learning but just not the course. I’ve always been a very hands-on person; I used to work a lot with horses and am used to being outside doing that sort of thing, and I’ve always enjoyed cars. My dad used to have a fleet of lorries and I used to go and watch him doing the mechanics so that’s what I decided to do.
I definitely would. The only thing I would say is if you are a ‘girly-girl’ that worries about your nails it won’t be for you. But certainly, if you don’t mind getting a wee bit dirty then it’s something I would really recommend.
From day one everyone has treated me as one of them. There’s been no differences at all. There’s a bit of joking about my height because I’m only 4’8” but it’s all just banter!
It’s brilliant; TTS is really, really good, even compared to when I was at Bangor SERC. Because you’re not in the classroom every single day of the week and it’s broken up with the practical side, that makes a really big difference. I don’t think there’s a huge amount of places that have the facilities that TTS has to do the practical side of things.
It was really, really simple. Michael has been a great help with explaining everything and making sure if there was anything we needed or anything we didn’t understand he was more than happy to help us. One of the good things about the online learning was that I could work at my own pace so I maybe went a bit quicker than we’d do in class. Not that we go slowly but for my own mental state during lockdown I was able to go a bit quicker, which suited me. But definitely I do miss the socialising aspect of it; it’s much nicer having that than just sitting looking at a computer screen.
At the minute it’s very easy to say “cut the apprentices” because they maybe haven’t been there as long as everyone else, but what happens when it comes back around that you need apprentices? Instead of getting rid of the apprentices that you’ve already started to train up and are getting good now, keep them on and let them get better because they are going to be more productive for the company than if you have to start from scratch later on.