National Apprenticeship Week – Meet Niall Rabin

Design Engineer Niall Rabin joined Alcon in 2016 as an apprentice.

What qualifications do you have?

o Level 4 HNC in Mechanical Engineering
o Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering Technical Support
o Level 3 NVQ Extended Diploma in Engineering Technical Support
o Level 3 OCR Cambridge National A level in IT – Distinction*

What inspired you to pursue the career you have today?

I always wanted to pursue a facet of engineering and I had a particular interest in how things were designed. My personal life involves a lot of cars and I love racing. So when Alcon advertised an apprenticeship in Design Engineering, it appeared the perfect place for me to develop my knowledge of engineering and design.

What does a typical day involve?

My day can vary depending on what I’m working on; a lot of my work is designing components for a variety of vehicles. I work specifically within the Special Vehicles department of design. This means designing for vehicles varying from a 22-tonne eight-wheeled military vehicle to an electric road car. Sometimes the customer will provide us with all the dimensional information needed to supply a brake kit for their application, other times they will only supply us with a vehicle meaning I’ll have to measure it in order to get the kit to fit correctly.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The goal with every new job remains the same, but the challenge is always different. A recent job required me to convert a one-piece disc to a two-piece, due to casting clearance and casting constraints, which meant the bell had to be mounted unusually compared to a lot of our designs.

Which of your career achievements are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I became a Design Engineer completing my apprenticeship whilst attaining all the qualifications I set out to. It’s great to have found something I enjoy and can continuously practice in my daily work.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?

I would certainly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is looking to rapidly progress their career. It provides you with the means and foundation to network with people already involved and is a structured route to achieving your goals.