From an early age, I have always been very hands-on. I have fond memories of working with my father in our garage, including designing and welding a trailer, which sparked an interest in becoming a Welder Fabricator.

Due to dyslexia, I’d always found academic subjects challenging, but excelled at more practical ones such as art and resistant materials, which I studied at GCSE level. Coupled with the important lessons learned from my job at a local greengrocers, I knew an office job wasn’t for me so I started exploring apprenticeship opportunities in the local area.

I first encountered Yamazaki Mazak in 2016 when I was in year 11, through the various career events and apprenticeship days available in the Worcestershire area. I was fascinated by what the company did, and I knew that was where I wanted to start my career in engineering. I used this drive to study hard and get the grades I needed, and began my apprenticeship in September 2017.

Worcester News: Zac first became interested in welding after working on projects with his father, and hopes to continue his career with Mazak following his apprenticeship.Zac first became interested in welding after working on projects with his father, and hopes to continue his career with Mazak following his apprenticeship.

I chose an apprenticeship in welding and fabrication because it suited my hands-on nature. It is a job that really gets me to engage my brain, especially when reading and processing fabrication drawings, as well as when fabricating and welding parts which are used to build the various CNC machines that we manufacture here at Mazak. I still take as much enjoyment from this work as I did when I was welding with my Dad in our garage, but it also motivates me to continue to keep developing my skillset and start to learn more about fabrication.

I am now in my fourth and final year of my apprenticeship, having completed a Level 2 NVQ in fabrication and welding at Worcestershire Group Training Association in my first year. It was here that I learned the basics of welding for a production environment, including health and safety, PPE, how to read drawings, and weld testing, all through a series of in-depth theoretical and practical sessions. The sessions were taught by seasoned instructors with a wealth of industry experience, all of whom were keen to pass on every bit of knowledge they could. Alongside my NVQ, during the first two years of my apprenticeship I completed my Level 3 Diploma in Engineering.

I spent my second and third year rotating around the sheet metal department at Mazak, gaining vital experience of the wider manufacturing process while also continuing to hone my practical skills. In my fourth year I am now specialising in welding while also working towards a Level 3 NVQ qualification. In addition to my vocational work, I am proud to say that I have also picked up a couple of internal and external awards along the way, including the ‘Endeavour’ and ‘Engineering Development’ awards.

Reflecting on my first four years in engineering, I have really appreciated the support I have received not just from my colleagues, but also my fellow apprentices. The culture at Mazak is something I have always valued, especially given that as an apprentice some mistakes are inevitable, but our colleagues ensure we learn from them and continue to develop our own skillset. I am very much looking forward to completing my apprenticeship and building my welding career with Mazak.

For those keen to experience a ‘day in the life’ of a Mazak apprentice, Zac has helped create a short video documenting his role, which can be viewed below. 

For more information about apprenticeships at Mazak, visit: