Boeing boss urges apprentices to keep learning and “make their own luck”

Apprentices need to keep learning throughout their careers and make their own luck by finding a mentor within their companies who will take an interest in their future development.

That was the advice from top Boeing executive David Pitchforth, speaking to around 150 apprentices at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centres training facilities in South Yorkshire.

Yorkshire-born Mr Pitchforth started his career as an apprentice with a company making high end automotive components and went on to work for the Ford Motor Company, at one stage running its Formula One racing operations, before becoming managing director Boeing Defence UK.

“The most important thing you can do at the place where you work is to talk to your managing director and senior people and find a mentor – someone who is interested in moving you through your career,” said Mr Pitchforth.

“They are not going to come and find you. There are lots of time in business where you have to make your own luck. Find someone who is going to be an advocate for you and help you drive your career forward.”

Mr Pitchforth praised the AMRC Training Centre, which he was visiting during National Apprenticeship Week, before giving the keynote speech at the Centres inaugural Apprentice of the Year awards dinner.

“This is a fantastic facility,” he said, before telling the apprentices: “You have got to keep learning.”

Mr Pitchforth described how all his training, from apprenticeship through to his degree, had been gained while he was working and earning a wage and that process was continuing at Boeing.

“Every one of us (on the Boeing Defence management team) does three to four weeks of intensive training throughout the year,” said Mr Pitchforth, urging apprentices to ask their employers what further training they would be prepared to contribute to once their apprenticeships were complete.

He also called for more women to become engineering apprentices and to rise up the ranks to the boardroom.

Boeing boss urges apprentices to keep learning and “make their own luck”

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