Apprenticeship Case Study: Oliver Bhurtun

Oliver Bhurtun

Sheffield Hallam University

Level 3 Engineering Apprentice Technician

For me this was great as I could still practice all the skills I love whilst gaining deeper knowledge and growing into the professional that I aspire to be. 


1. Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

When I left school, I went straight into working because I valued my independence. While I enjoyed this I still wanted to learn and gain qualifications so that’s when I started to investigate Apprenticeships. They are a perfect fit for the type of person who learns through doing and wants to build a career as they allow a structured build up to your desired job. For me this was great as I could still practice all the skills I love whilst gaining deeper knowledge and growing into the professional that I aspire to be.

2. What did you do before your apprenticeship?

At school I always had a passion for engineering subjects such as maths and physics but due to personal circumstances, didn’t get the grades I needed to study further. This was frustrating as I knew I was capable of more but needed the space to figure out how I was going to achieve this. I left school and went to work, to build myself up and gain some new skills and after a while I started to investigate apprenticeships and found myself studying a level 2 in engineering practice whilst working in a factory. This was one of the best decisions I made as it allowed me to use the skills and behaviours I had gained from working and taught me to apply knowledge gained at college. I am now studying my level 3 BTec in engineering at the Sheffield College whilst working in the technical operations resources and services (TORS) at Sheffield Hallam University.  

3. What have you gained from your apprenticeship?

I am a year into my apprenticeship, and with the support of my colleagues and tutors I have gained distinctions in all my modules such as electronic principals and engineering project management. I can provide support in many areas of engineering, such as student lab-based sessions and producing equipment kits essential for the students. This allows me to build the skills and behaviours needed to become a great engineering technician and gives me the ability to make more informed career choices. Working and learning within the University has helped me build interpersonal skills, forge friendships, and build networks for collaborative projects, furthering my aspirations in the engineering field. 

4. What are the benefits to completing an apprenticeship?

The clearest benefit for me has been the overall experience. I can directly apply the knowledge gained from study and it allows me to truly appreciate the need for practice and repetition, to embed the principles of engineering. 

The experience I have gained on my apprenticeship has also made me appreciate the need for strong interpersonal skills, such as communication, that are always valued in work life and personal life.


Studying an apprenticeship means that the University pays for the taught side of the course as well as providing a wage. This allowed me to retain the independence I had after leaving school. You are treated as an employee, with all the benefits that come with that such as holidays, training, and the employee assistance program which provides support on a range of personal matters.

5. Which organisation do you work for and what are your roles and responsibilities?#

My employment is provided by Sheffield Hallam University, and I am employed as an Engineering technician. Due to the nature of the university my role is varied. As part of my training, I move around the departments gaining experience in Electronics/mechanical engineering and work within the creative teams such as Art and Design. This approach has given be a broader overview of how the university functions and helps me work collaboratively throughout the teams to achieve goals.

My main duties are:

  • Provide support to students, academics, and researchers- this includes supporting labs and taught sessions, providing information to academics and helping researchers carry out activities onsite. 
  • Support and maintain equipment and tools- checking that all equipment runs the way it should and carrying out routine safety checks such as calibration and general visual inspection/testing. 
  • Support projects running inside and outside of the university- working with contractors and workers off university site to set up exhibitions and other workspaces all around Sheffield. 
  • Provide improvements to university systems- identify areas of improvement, this can be upgrading equipment for taught sessions or improving access to information for all. 

6. Where do you see yourself after your apprenticeship has completed?

I hope to continue my role within Sheffield Hallam University and study further to degree level though apprenticeships. In doing this I will be able to provide more support to students and academics. I gain a sense of pride from this part of the role. Working at Hallam has shown me what can be achieved through collaboration, and this is something I would like to explore more.For me this was great as I could still practice all the skills I love whilst gaining deeper knowledge and growing into the professional that I aspire to be.