Case study

Rise to the Top: from an apprenticeship to a senior role

Former apprentice Adrian Randall is currently a Programme Manager at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

Adrian Randall with Dstl Chief Executive Jonathan Lyle and Defence Minister Philip Dunne

“I began my career as an apprentice at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) in August 1975 where I did a 4 year mechanical engineering apprenticeship. The first 2 years were spent in AWRE’s schools and the final 2 years were spent out on site working 3 months at a time delivering different engineering services and outcomes. Part of the apprenticeship also included attending college in Newbury and Basingstoke to learn about the theoretical aspects of engineering.

I am now a Programme Manager at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) responsible for delivering Dstl’s future infrastructure programme. This involves ensuring that Dstl has the facilities and infrastructure so that its scientists and engineers can continue to provide battle winning science and technology for the defence and security of the UK.

I always had a passion for technical things and from an early age wanted to be either a draughtsman or an architect. At the end of my apprenticeship I joined AWRE’s drawing office as a draughtsman designing all sorts of things in support of the UK’s nuclear programme. The apprenticeship was the means to get me to something I always wanted to do.

I get a real buzz seeing a product or project through from beginning to end. This is still the same in my current role delivering Dstl an array of new facilities as it was at the start of my career as an engineer designing or manufacturing something.

My apprenticeship gave me a good base from which to build. I moved around a lot in the early years, experienced all sorts of different roles and worked on some pretty amazing things.”

Find out more about our apprenticeship schemes.

Adrian Randall
Published 15 March 2016