An insight from a PCB Design Apprentice

An insight from a PCB Design Apprentice

Elliot Langran - PCB Design Apprentice

By: Elliot Langran
PCB Design Apprentice

26th April 2017

Home » Apprenticeship

Hello, I’m Elliot Langran and I am the PCB Design Apprentice here at Plextek, I started in September and here is an insight from my perspective of life as an apprentice.

I generally get into the office between 9 – 9:30 am, being a young person, I’m extremely grateful for our flexible working hours. It does mean staying later than most, but at least I can claim I’m running the show later in the day, if only for an hour or so. I start the day catching up with the team and of course grabbing a cup of tea to get me kick-started. The first thing I do is get everything set up including the Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools, and PADS layout, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design software. I’d be lost without these.

PCBDesign4-500Being a PCB Design Apprentice is really varied and my average day can be spent doing a range of different things, generally speaking, no two tasks are the same. When I started my apprenticeship, I luckily wasn’t expected to know how to design a 12 layered PCB.

However, excitingly, I am now on my way to gaining the relevant skills. This makes a 12 layered PCB less of a daunting idea as each day I am developing and learning.

One thing that has become apparent to me is that each PCB designer has their own style as each designer lays out their board differently (it’s nice to know that I will develop a PCB signature). Understanding and being exposed to a range of layout options and developing multiple skill sets is vital for me in crafting my own style further.

PCBDesign1-500What I enjoy about the job is the creativity and it’s one of the first principles that I was taught here: never copy anybody else’s design, and develop your own style and way of working instead. This is helped by the constant support and guidance from my mentors. They are always advising and guiding me on where improvements can be made and are key people in my development as an apprentice.

I’ve been learning a lot by looking at the other designers’ work from time to time and noting their style of approaching layouts for example. They can work on as many as 16 layers of PCB board, it’s quite crazy actually. I am currently able to work up to 4 layers and the tracking gets more complicated each time you go up a layer pair. This is made even more challenging if you have less board space to work on.

I also spend some of my time working on mechanical drawings, which really brings extended variety to my work day! These drawings are needed often during projects, especially for cable assemblies.

PCBSo there is a lot of variety in my job; PCB design, schematics and sometimes mechanical drawings, not to mention college work as well. My line manager and mentor are always really supportive of my college work and both think it is important to get done whenever there is a quiet moment. This has been vital to my success in my apprenticeship studies and is greatly appreciated.

The organisation is always showing great enthusiasm towards the apprenticeship scheme and my personal development. This has been recognised by my college, Cambridge Regional College, at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards as we won “Engineering Employer of the Year Award”. I look forward to developing here during my apprenticeship and the adventures and interesting projects that await me.

Hello, I’m Elliot Langran and I am the PCB Design Apprentice here at Plextek, I started in September and here is an insight from my perspective of life as an apprentice.

I generally get into the office between 9 – 9:30 am, being a young person, I’m extremely grateful for our flexible working hours. It does mean staying later than most, but at least I can claim I’m running the show later in the day, if only for an hour or so. I start the day catching up with the team and of course grabbing a cup of tea to get me kick-started. I first get everything set up including the Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools, and PADS layout, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design software. I’d be lost without these.

PCBDesign4-500Being a PCB Design Apprentice is really varied and my average day can be spent doing a range of different things, generally speaking, no two tasks are the same. When I started my apprenticeship, I luckily wasn’t expected to know how to design a 12 layered PCB.

However, excitingly, I am now on my way to gaining the relevant skills. This makes a 12 layered PCB less of a daunting idea as each day I am developing and learning.

One thing that has become apparent to me is that each PCB designer has their own style as each designer lays out their board differently (it’s nice to know that I will develop a PCB signature). Understanding and being exposed to a range of layout options and developing multiple skill sets is vital for me in crafting my own style further.

PCBDesign1-500What I enjoy about the job is the creativity and it’s one of the first principles that I was taught here: never copy anybody else’s design, and develop your own style and way of working instead. This is helped by the constant support and guidance from my mentors. They are always advising and guiding me on where improvements can be made and are key people in my development as an apprentice.

I’ve been learning a lot by looking at the other designers’ work from time to time and noting their style of approaching layouts for example. They can work on as many as 16 layers of PCB board, it’s quite crazy actually. I am currently able to work up to 4 layers and the tracking gets more complicated each time you go up a layer pair. This is made even more challenging if you have less board space to work on.

I also spend some of my time working on mechanical drawings, which really brings extended variety to my work day! These drawings are needed often during projects, especially for cable assemblies.

PCBSo there is a lot of variety in my job; PCB design, schematics and sometimes mechanical drawings, not to mention college work as well. My line manager and mentor are always really supportive of my college work and both think it is important to get done whenever there is a quiet moment. This has been vital to my success in my apprenticeship studies and is greatly appreciated.

The organisation is always showing great enthusiasm towards the apprenticeship scheme and my personal development. This has been recognised by my college, Cambridge Regional College, at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards as we won “Engineering Employer of the Year Award”. I look forward to developing here during my apprenticeship and the adventures and interesting projects that await me.

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Cambridge, UK – 23rd February 2017 –  Design and innovation consultancy, Plextek are to receive the “Employer of the Year Award 2017 for Engineering” from Cambridge Regional College. As part of the college’s apprenticeship scheme, the award recognises the company’s outstanding commitment to the college and the continued development of the apprentices taken on over the past year.

Elliot Langran, Product Design apprentice commented on his apprenticeship at Plextek:

“It’s engaging, exciting and a really nice place to be, everyone is really helpful and you learn a lot very quickly. No day or two projects are the same, they are all different and unique and that is what has really excited me while on my apprenticeship. Being able to come back to the classroom and apply what I have learnt at Plextek to do better in my studies is really rewarding. ”

Stephen Field, Senior Consultant, Product Design commented on what the apprenticeship scheme means to Plextek:

“We see employing apprentices as an opportunity to introduce youth and dynamism to support and develop our technical knowledge and varied project experience. As a former apprentice, I am an enthusiast in the apprenticeship system and the benefits it brings to employer and employee alike. We have apprentices in the areas of Product Design, Information Technology and Supply Chain Management. Our apprentices are a key part of our succession planning, to continue the success of all and any area within the company and something we aim to develop further in the future.”

Plextek has also been nominated for the “Overall Employer of the Year Award for 2017” with all winners being announced at the Cambridge Regional College Apprenticeship Awards Dinner on Thursday 9th of March.

Notes to editors

Based near Cambridge, UK, Plextek designs new products, systems, and services for its clients in a diverse range of industries including defence & security, medical & healthcare, and wireless communications.

Central to its culture is the company’s ability to innovate, taking an idea from concept to market. For more than 25 years the team of consultants, engineers and project managers has turned our clients’ business opportunities into commercial success, designing, manufacturing and supplying leading-edge products. Supported by our network of suppliers, commercial partners and research organisations, Plextek is the trusted partner of choice for more than 300 commercial clients, government agencies, and ambitious start-up companies.

For more information call us on 01799 533200 or email: press@plextek.com