Name: Saulius Paltanavicius
Apprenticeship Programme: Software and Electronic Apprentice Engineer (Year 4)
What is your education / work background?
Prior to joining Sony as an apprentice, I studied BTEC Electrical and Electronic Engineering Level 3 Extended Diploma at Cardiff and Vale College. Whilst studying towards my BTEC Diploma, I worked in various industries from scrap recycling yards and warehouses to working at McDonald’s and then becoming a stockroom assistant. Since joining the Apprenticeship Programme at Sony, I have successfully enrolled on and completed a Higher National Diploma in Computing at Cardiff and Vale College. To further my learning and development, my manager at Sony encouraged me to apply for a Manufacturing Systems Engineering Degree at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. To this day I am continuing my studies and development through work and higher education.
How did you find the process of applying for your apprenticeship?
The application process was really smooth. The interview was made up of two stages. The first involved me working with a team on a problem solving exercise and the second stage involved completing small practical tasks. Both interview stages were organised very well, and the recruitment team ensured that all candidates were feeling relaxed and confident during interviews.
How did you feel when you found out you had gained a place on the programme?
Having successfully gained a place at Sony Pencoed within the Higher Apprenticeship scheme meant I was able to begin progressing my career with a world-renowned company specialising in cutting edge technologies and products that have changed people’s everyday lives from music players and broadcasting equipment to manufacturing and AI technology. Being able to work at the forefront of the research and development behind these technologies, has been a dream come true. Sony is committed to supporting their Apprentices to enhance their learning in order to become confident and competent Engineers.
What is a typical day like on the programme?
The majority of my day involves me taking part in manufacturing, testing and deploying IIoT technology on production machines such as automated packing machines, assembly robots and auto testing machines. Every morning I ensure that our IIoT devices such as sensors and cameras are collecting useful information which can then be used to enhance manufacturing processes, automation and efficiency. Furthermore, the collected information is used to develop smarter, automated and robotic technologies to assist manufacturing processes that we see today.
What have you gained from the programme?
During my apprenticeship I have gained knowledge in variety of fields such as programming, electrical and electronics, PCB manufacturing, fault finding and problem solving, PLC programming, network configurations, cyber security, project management, webpage development, databases and systems architectures. An apprenticeship with Sony offers a variety of engineering disciplines which you can later specialise in, including mechanical engineering, CAD designers, programmers, mechanical engineers, CNC machine engineers and many more. Through the programmes onsite training academy there are continuous opportunities for engineers and apprentices to learn, develop and improve their skills.
Since joining Sony, not only have I gained skills in engineering, but I have also made a lot of friends. Prior to COVID-19, once a year Sony took every employee on a team-building day which encouraged you to mix with other teams and get to know each other on a personal level. Furthermore, working for a global company enables you to meet and work with people from all over the world ranging from Europe to Asia and America.
How will the programme help you with your future goals?
Sony has not only improved my educational skills but has also improved my interpersonal skills. I feel I have become more confident with making decisions and communicating with the management team and more assured in my performance. I believe these are key skills needed in order to further my career. The programme has helped improve my knowledge, confidence and skills in engineering all of which go towards achieving my ultimate goal of becoming a Senior Engineer.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for the programme?
The programme has highlighted the importance of team work and networking. The programme exposes you to demanding projects and situations which require a team effort at all times. During the programme you always have to be ready to learn. Engineering is a fast-changing industry which requires you to think about new ways of working in order to keep products and processes exciting and innovative.
The programme allows you to fulfil your passion and get started on your dream career. Doing something you enjoy will mean you will go above and beyond to deliver. Exposing yourself to different environments and challenges will help you to grow and develop.