Manufacturing apprentices tell us about their on-the-job training at Tecomet, Inc.
Apprentices: Linda Costin & Juan Aleman
Location: Tecomet, Inc. in Manchester, NH
Community College: Manchester Community College
Linda and Juan are two out of ten apprentices participating in the ApprenticeshipNH program at Tecomet Inc. They are Machine Operator apprentices at the Manchester, NH company and are working towards the completion of an apprenticeship that consists of 144 hours of classroom instruction through Manchester Community College and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training. Classroom instruction is a hybrid format with both online and in-person instruction offered onsite at Tecomet.
The Tecomet apprentices recently sat down with us to tell us a bit more about what their apprenticeship experience has been like thus far.
What made you decide to join the ApprenticeshipNH program?
Linda: I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get some education. I’ve never really gone to school for anything like this before.
Juan: It sounded like a great opportunity for me to move up in my career, and this seemed like a great way to do it. I want to learn along the way and develop new skills and be confident.
What did you find to be most helpful during your apprenticeship experience?
Linda: When the whole group gets together for in-person classes, that’s really helpful for me. My coworkers that are in the class with me are really helpful if I’m having a problem.
Juan: I would agree that it’s a really great group. Most of the other people in the program I hadn’t talked to before, even though I might run into them every day. But now we are a really close group and talk with each other to see how things are going with the classes and the homework. I think in addition to the skills we’re developing in class it’s helped improve our social skills with our co-workers. I’m an introvert and participating in this program has helped me become an extrovert.
Is there anything in particular that stands out? A favorite moment?
Linda: My favorite moment was when I finally could understand some of the math – that felt really good.
Juan: The math class was awesome. I really like math, and the teacher worked really well with the class and helped us really understand the material.
What kinds of qualities do you think it takes to be successful in the ApprenticeshipNH program?
Linda: You have to be dedicated. Before I started I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. You have to study, and you have to want it.
Juan: Dedication and focus are really important. You have to understand what you are doing and be willing to put in the extra hours for homework. My wife just had a baby and trying to deal with that and working and class on top of it, dedication is so important.
Why did you choose this career path? What inspired you?
Linda: When I got the job at Tecomet, I immediately liked it. I really like learning new things and I like working with materials like metal. I’m excited to learn how to operate some of the other equipment and machinery here.
Juan: I thought that I wanted to be a maintenance mechanic and work my way up into another department, but once I started doing the metal fabrication I really liked it. I was inspired by another engineer here in my department who taught me a lot.
What have you learned about yourself as Tecomet apprentices and what advice would you give to others?
Linda: It’s really inspiring to be successful in the program – every time I complete and pass a test, I gain a little bit of confidence. Before starting the apprenticeship, I was really lacking confidence and this program has really helped me develop it. My advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship would be to do it, it’s really helped me a lot and it’s such a great program.
Juan: I’ve learned how well I can balance a lot of things at once. I’ve never been the kind of person that does more than one thing at a time. I’ve achieved a new level of focus, and I’m more confident that I can handle it. My advice to others would be not to be afraid to challenge yourself. Even if something is hard and it takes a lot of time the payback will be worth it.
If you could describe your experience in the ApprenticeshipNH program in one word, what would it be?
What’s the next career step for you upon completing the program?
Linda: I’m hoping to move into a better position in machining. Right now I’m in an entry level position and by completing my apprenticeship I’ll be able to move up within the company.
Juan: I’m thinking about going back to college and continuing my education. I’d like to become an engineer eventually, but my first step is just to learn as much as I can in this job.