In this our second interview with successful RACHP “Trailblazer” Apprentices, the IOR talked to Josh Eames a Support Engineer with Sure Solutions who studied at Grimsby Institute.

Like most young people, Josh knew nothing about refrigeration and air conditioning before he became an apprentice.  “I had been doing lots of different jobs, like living overseas working on sailing boats. When I came back to the UK I wanted to settle down and find an apprenticeship that would offer me a permanent career and lots of scope to learn new things and do a variety of practical work.”  He found out about the apprenticeship opportunity at Sure Solutions from a family connection - his father-in-law is a pipefitter and suggested they were looking to take on new people. “I have more experience than most of the apprentices on my course, but I wanted to learn from the ground up, as a firm foundation for my future career. There seems to be a never-ending scope in this sector with no limits to what you can do or how far you can go.” 

Josh’s commitment and interest in learning new things has helped him enormously.  “If I don’t learn something new - that has not been a good day for me.   The most challenging thing about my studies was the maths and equations - heat loads and enthalpy – when it started clicking in my head and I made the calculations work, it was a big moment and I started to really enjoy it from then. It is important to me to be able to figure out the outcome myself, I don’t just want to be told the answer.”

He used an example to explain how his college studies at Grimsby have helped his work. The job involved the decommissioning of a factory, where the compressors weren’t running. He had to perform all the tasks that he had learned at college - electrical fault finding, pump down, evacuation, filling in paper work and arranging waste transfer.  He describes it as “a complete job that put all my learning together - my supervisor let me take the lead and trusted me to get on with it. I felt like I was becoming a real engineer then.”

Most of his work now is on industrial carbon dioxide and ammonia systems. He says that what he loves most about the job is the people he gets to work with and fascinating places like food production factories that most people wouldn’t even know about.

His attitude to the challenges of studying at college is that “You get back what you put into it. If you are enthusiastic, you will make it work and enjoy it. As a student you need to be the kind of person who can problem solve, get on with things, get on with people. It takes a lot of work to be successful in this industry.  You need to get your head down, and put the effort in outside of college, not just rely on the college doing everything for you.”

It hasn’t been an easy journey for him - during his first year he experienced a family crisis that led to him having to take some time out. “I got fantastic support from Sure Solutions and Grimsby Institute.  Having this apprenticeship and a great employer gave me something to work towards and a positive outlook on life and my career.”

Josh comes across as engineer with endless enthusiasm for both his work and his studies.  The first thing he said about his apprenticeship was “I’m absolutely loving it”.   He has got to grips with the idea that understanding the science and underpinning knowledge is the foundation to developing a lifelong career.  He feels that the apprenticeship route will allow him to choose where he wants to go in the future, giving him options.  He thrives on learning by doing and on learning something new every day “I have always been busy and I like to have a lot to do” he says. But he is also generous in recognising the role that his employer has played in supporting his learning by giving him the responsibility to get on with the job whilst pairing him with experienced supervisors giving him great support.  In spite of being responsible for a young family, he even finds time to encourage and help his fellow students.  With his proactive attitude and passion for hard work, it certainly seems like he will go far in this industry.

For more about the RACHP EngTech Apprenticeship, guides for employers and links to college training providers see

(This article was published in the November 2022 issue of RAC Magazine.)