A distinction above the rest: Apprentice Max achieves highest score in assessors’ history

February 11, 2021

Celebrating an incredible achievement on National Apprenticeship Week

This week (8-14 February) is National Apprenticeship Week, and what better way to mark the occasion than by celebrating the success of Structural Soils (an RSK company) apprentice, Max Battle. Max not only recently completed his apprenticeship at the Structural Soils laboratory in Hemel Hempstead, UK, with a Distinction, but he was awarded the highest ever Vocational Competence Discussion (VCD) score in the history of the assessing organisation, Marshall Assessments!

This incredible achievement means that Max has scored the highest VCD out of hundreds of apprentices across the UK. “This is great testament to both Max’s ability as a technician, his maturity as a person, and the support he has received from the team at work,” commented a representative from the apprenticeship training provider Youthforce.

Structural Soils Managing Director Stephen Mackereth said: “What a fantastic accolade. Max has put a huge amount of work and dedication into his apprenticeship. We thank him for taking this so seriously and for engaging with the process so fully. I wish him all the very best and trust that we can offer him a sound, stable and rewarding career path going forward.

“Thank you also to all the team in the Hemel Hempstead laboratory who supported Max through his training. It is great to know we have such committed people in the business and to see again that the apprenticeship scheme has been a success for the individual, the employing company and the facilitators of the scheme.”

RSK caught up with Max to find out more about his experience as an apprentice.

Name of apprenticeship

Edexcel Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities

Why did you choose to do the apprenticeship?

The idea of working in a laboratory, with individuals who can share and demonstrate their expertise and pass on their scientific knowledge, was what really appealed to me. This apprenticeship has allowed me to step into the scientific field and gain knowledge and experience that I would never have got otherwise.

What have you learnt/achieved by doing the qualification?

I have learnt how to work safely in a laboratory and how to comply with regulations that are relevant to the business. In addition, I have gained the knowledge and practice of how to perform laboratory tasks using the appropriate scientific techniques, procedures, and methods. I have learnt the importance of UKAS audits and how to help the laboratory maintain this accreditation. During the last two years, I have been shown and then trained on how to run a variety of testing on soils and rock to BS1377, EN ISO 17892 and the ISRM standards.

If other people are thinking about doing an apprenticeship qualification, do you have any advice for them? Are there any things you found challenging? And what helped to keep you on track?

We have all faced difficulties in the last year due to COVID-19; at one stage I did not think I would be able to complete the apprenticeship as a result. Thankfully, with the use of Microsoft Teams and Zoom, I was given the opportunity to continue learning, and to demonstrate what I have learnt so that I could eventually have my end point assessment where I would be assessed to determine if I have passed the course.

Having a dedicated team around me in the laboratory that both encouraged and supported me throughout my apprenticeship really helped me to gain a Distinction. I felt comfortable knowing that I had my mentor, managers and all the technicians in the laboratory to go to for advice and support if I needed them.

Knowing that I was passionate about working in a laboratory and wanting to continually help others and become involved with scientists, engineers and laboratory technicians has kept me focused throughout my time in the laboratory. My advice for those thinking about doing an apprenticeship is to make sure you have a good network around you that can support you when needed. Not everyone is able to say that they work with the best, but I can!

Thank you to everyone that has helped me!

Max has now been offered a laboratory technician position at Structural Soils and is looking forward to progressing his career further, perhaps even becoming a principal technician one day.

Congratulations, Max!

You can find our full list of current apprentice opportunities here.

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Ryan Dunderdale, Senior Surveyor at Central Alliance, providing technical support and on-site training to datum plate install teams down in Bristol.

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