Milo Tolley, Refrigeration Engineer
Milo originally undertook an apprenticeship at a competitor but switched to Star so I could progress my career with Star's trainee scheme. As a fast track engineer, Milo was able to combine a 4 year apprenticeship into just 18 months. A personal career highlight was being involved in the installation and commissioning of one of Europe’s largest cold stores. After completing his apprenticeship he can go on to Star’s 5 level Engineering grading program to improve his competence, take the managerial route or further his education with a university degree while working as an engineer.
What is your educational background?
After leaving school and deciphering what career route I wanted, I started by completing an engineering college course. The apprenticeship route suited myself and I was completing an industrial refrigeration apprenticeship, originally at a competitor. However, I joined Star in 2017 on the trainee scheme pathway to make further career progression.
What attracted you to the refrigeration industry and Star Refrigeration in particular?
Before seeing an apprenticeship vacancy, I was unaware of the scale of the refrigeration industry. Never could I have imagined the extent of the sector and its importance to the world. After leaving engineering college, I knew I wanted a hands-on job where each day is different and interesting. An opportunity to work for the UK’s largest independent refrigeration company was too good to turn down. Especially given Star is renowned in the industry for its exceptional training.
Describe your apprenticeship experience with Star Refrigeration?
Joining as a fast track I effectively combined a 4 year apprenticeship into 18 months. Having the support of a mentor and colleagues who want you to succeed ensures that by putting in a lot of hard work, you can reap the rewards. There was a balance of practical and theory training, with a lot of this being completed in-house to ensure a high standard but with additional external courses to obtain maximum knowledge from various sources.
What does your role involve?
Currently as an ST3 service engineer, each day is different which keeps it interesting. The job could involve working on new installations, commissioning, large service works, routine maintenance or time-critical breakdowns. Big multinational companies in diverse industries such as petrochemical, cold chain and pharma put their trust on me daily to keep their cooling systems working reliably and efficiently.
How do you manage your time between working and learning?
The key to a successful apprenticeship is combining the working and learning together. Support from a good company is essential so that you can dedicate time to study and also develop your skils with additional learning. During an apprenticeship, you have to complete various tasks and assignments which are often set up by various people such as your mentor, training manager, colleagues and college teachers. It is important to understand that these are designed to help you become the best version of yourself, both technically and personally. At Star I get a lot of help and support as everyone is rooting for me to succeed.
Where do you see your role progressing after your apprenticeship/current role?
I am just striving for continual progression and am open to future ideas as there is a wide variety of opportunities. I could go on to Star’s 5 level Engineering grading program to improve my competence, take the managerial route or further my education with a university degree while working as an engineer.
Any general career highlights?
A personal career highlight was being involved in the installation and commissioning of one of Europe’s largest cold stores. My hard work was recognised and I was invited to the industry’s national ACR awards ceremony where we won the ‘Project of the Year’ award presented by Jeff Stelling.
What advice would you give to young people who are looking to start a career in engineering?
Take risks when you’re unsure of a career, try and find something that isn’t just a job. Do something you enjoy and put maximum effort towards it and you’ll reap the rewards. A day without learning, is a day wasted.
University is usually promoted to be the better option when leaving school. However an apprenticeship allows you to earn as you learn whilst being able to determine your natural skillset. The refrigeration industry can lead to different pathways, whether these be more theoretical or practical.
You can have a successful and rewarding career in this industry.