From A-Levels to ASTeC
08 Mar 2018
- Michelle Keeley



James McKinney tells us about life as an ASTeC apprentice for #NAW2018


​Coming from a business-orientated family, James was exposed to finance, planning and business models which inspired him to venture into the world of work following on from his A-Levels.

James undertook his A-Levels at Alsager Sixth Form in Design Technology and History. During this time, he was also applying to become a Marine as an officer. So, why the change?

“I failed on medical grounds which left me at a loose end and not knowing what to do with my life as I'd not applied to University. I then went and worked in a cocktail bar after finishing my exams. The only other experience I had was a few student jobs and delivery driving."

James then made the decision to look into conducting an apprenticeship and now ASTeC are fortunate to have him on board completing a Level 4 apprenticeship in Associate Project Management. The experience James will obtain throughout his time here will challenge him to manage various projects at different levels in a scientific setting.

James McKinney.png

James' Top Three: Words to describe undertaking an apprenticeship in ASTeC

  • Interesting
  • Enjoyable
  • Diverse

James' Top Three: Things I've learned so far

  • I've learned more about science these past few months than throughout my 7 years of school!
  • Always consult an expert first if possible
  • Good governance is key to project success.

Supporting our apprentices through their journey is important to staff in ASTeC and we try to ensure everyone empowered to have a great work-life balance.

“The work-life balance is fantastic. Also, there is a sense that your opinion matters and that you aren't just another cog in the wheel."

In his spare time, James plays hockey for his local teams and trains in multiple martial arts, occasionally competing. He grew up with an interest in car modification and enjoys this hobby in the winter months. When he's not training or playing hockey, James likes to learn new business methods.

Artboard 1BLUE MANAGE.png

Louise and James are also working as Project Managers together with the Technology Department's Electrical Engineering apprentices to work on the GreenPower IET 24+ Challenge, where together, they are planning and implementing the build of an electric race car that will compete in 3 races. The aim is to create a car that's both durable rather than merely focussing on speed.

You can find out more about apprenticeships at STFC by visiting

Contact: Keeley, Michelle (STFC,DL,AST)