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Apprenticeships opening up worlds of possibilities

23 Mar 2023
David Johnson and David Whiles of Hydrosun working in workshop

Apprenticeships with TTE Technical can open up a world of possibilities for employers and employees – just ask David Johnson and Hydrasun.

The 29-year-old is now a fully-fledged Mechanical & Instrument Technician at fluid power specialist Hydrasun, travelling to locations across the UK and Europe after completing his apprenticeship.

David, from Teesside, began his working career stacking shelves and Tesco and had been working on the production line at Nissan in Sunderland when he decided on a change in his career path.

He explained: “I’ve always been interested in how things work and in working with my hands. It was a different path to the one I thought I was going to take and a bit of a gamble to fund myself on the course at TTE but it certainly paid off.”

David started his apprenticeship at the Stockton office of Aberdeen-based Hydrasun in 2018 after two years studying for a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at TTE Technical, which is part of the Middlesbrough College Group.

Hydrasun specialises in providing fluid power solutions to a range of customers in the energy, manufacturing, marine, renewables and defence industries worldwide and David was quickly learning a variety of maintenance and engineering skills on the job at a range of locations in the UK and across Europe.

He said: “The company really didn’t hold me back – I was travelling to Cornwall one week on an energy project and then in Scotland the next week on an oil and gas development.

“It was fantastic training and it really brought out a lot of things in me – before I was a bit shy but the apprenticeship really built my confidence with things like working away from home, talking to colleagues and dealing with customers.

“I love the diversity of the job and the fact that I get to work in lots of different places. One week I can be at the branch in Stockton and the next week I might be off to Europe – I was in the Netherlands in December and January working on a hydrogen refuelling site, for example.”

David Whiles, operations manager at Hydrasun in Stockton, said the company started working with TTE in 2017/18 as its Stockton operation grew.

He explained: “As a company, Hydrasun has always used an apprenticeship programme because apprentices bring a number of different things to the business.

“It gives us the chance to develop our competencies within a particular role as opposed to going into the market to try and find someone who won’t necessarily have the range of skills we’re looking for.

“It’s an investment for us and we see the returns in the form of skilled, motivated young technicians like David.

“It also brings a lot of innovation and fresh ideas into the workplace – apprentices who come in are not afraid to ask questions and challenge some of the experienced team members about what they do and the way they do it.”

Mark Hall, Regional Apprenticeship Manager – Engineering, Construction & TTE, said: “It is fantastic to see how David’s diploma and apprenticeship has made such a difference to his life – and has helped Hydrasun to secure a highly trained, motivated and confident staff member.

“We are committed to working closely with a wide range of companies to ensure that we help provide the workforce of the future and open up career opportunities for many more people.”

TTE Technical is the UK’s leading provider of technical training to the oil & gas, process, manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Its training programmes range from foundation to advanced level including delivery of practical skills training, formal technical qualifications and assessment and verification of Vocational Qualifications across operations, maintenance, management and health & safety.

To find out how apprenticeships from TTE Technical can help your business contact Becky Brown, Apprenticeship Sales Manager, on 07841 214964 or email

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