Award winners in focus: Apprentice of the Year

Following our story on Young Engineer of the Year winner Abbie Bewley last month, the BCIA casts a spotlight over the winner of the Apprentice of the Year, Rob Drysdale.

When Rob Drysdale was announced as the winner of the BCIA’s Apprentice of the Year on 04 May 2023 it completed a double whammy for InTandem Systems Ltd, with Rob’s colleague Abbie Bewley picking up the Young Engineer award. Unfortunately, Rob was unable to attend on the night but has since described his feelings upon being delivered the good news. He said: “I’m glad to have won this amazing award. It’s great for me on a personal level and for the company. Thanks to everyone at InTandem who has supported me so far.”

Rob is currently on the Level 4 BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship delivered by Group Horizon and started his apprenticeship by looking forward at the knowledge/skills that would be required and requested that he start gaining practical experience of the various competence areas covered later on the course so that he could make the most out of the future content delivery. He particularly focused on control panel planning/manufacture/testing as he realised that this is becoming a scarce skill for the industry and one that is essential for BEMS control engineers in small businesses where you need all-round knowledge/skills. As a result of this commitment he can now interpret layout drawings, design panel backplate/door layout, manufacture panels to a high standard with minimal supervision and carry out final testing.

Having completed the knowledge element of the first seven courses Rob has benefited from completing assignments as he says it has given him an opportunity to practically apply the core content to projects he is working on. It has also involved him discussing different solutions/approaches with the engineering team which in turn has enhanced his knowledge further.

The InTandem team have highlighted how Rob had to think ‘outside the box’ to overcome challenges on projects. Head Panel Builder Simon Cox said: “On a panel modification Rob had to change component positions in order to fit additions into limited space. This increased confidence has also encouraged him to pass on this knowledge to less experienced trainees. Other team members commented on how the knowledge gained is being applied as we have a site with over 100 outstations that are in varying conditions. Rob has been selected to carry out this work as he now has the knowledge to understand the various control functions. This is work that he would not have been considered for 12 months ago and is a direct outcome from the knowledge gained on his course.”

Rob hopes the award will give him further confidence as he pursues his career, concluding: “Hopefully going forward I can start to take more of a managerial/commissioning role to then progress my career in the future and gain new skills.”