From apprentice to manager at NGF Europe

Sam’s interest in engineering began at an early age, inspired by his father, who was an Engineering Technician at Pilkington Glass for many years.

Leaving school with strong GCSE grades, Sam was unsure which engineering route to follow from the broad range of roles available but knew he needed to develop the practical skills required to enter the e engineering industry. He was delighted to successfully secure an apprenticeship with Waterside Training as a Process Development Apprentice, sponsored by NGF Europe.

NGF Europe is part of the NSG Group of Japan, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of glass products for building, automotive and information electronics applications.

At just 17 years old, Sam was gaining the crucial underpinning knowledge through workshops and classes with Waterside Training at the St Helens STEM Centre Campus, alongside invaluable practical experience onsite with skilled engineers. Sam explained, “I found this was a great balance of academic and vocational training and this is why I feel apprenticeships are one of the most beneficial routes into work.”

He added, “Waterside Training was an excellent provider that didn’t just focus on qualifications but also personal development. I particularly enjoyed the team building activities and made some great friends who I still see 18 years later!”

On completion of his apprenticeship, Sam gained full-time employment with NGF Europe as a Process Development Technician and went on to gain a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Since then, Sam has excelled and is now employed as the Engineering Manager and Process Development Manager of NGF Europe. Speaking about his current role, he said, “I manage a team of 20 people, delivering site maintenance and projects. I never set out to become a manager, but the apprenticeship allowed me to keep my options open for both further education and career progression. I have also had the amazing opportunity to travel with my work to Europe, Japan, Vietnam and Canada.”

Based on his own experiences, Sam highly recommends the apprenticeship route to others, and thinks “it is a great pathway to so many specialist areas of engineering, providing education, experience and opportunity!”

If you would like to follow in Sam’s footsteps and discover an exciting new career with an apprenticeship, find out more here.


Waterside Training have been our apprenticeship provider for the past 7 years. They are an amazing team who offer great customer service and always go the extra mile. Our apprentices are cared for and well looked after which feels like they are part of our own team and forms a true, trustworthy partnership.

Essity have many colleges under management, and I believe Waterside Training is the strongest on the market. With that said, other colleges should be seeking to work in collaboration with Waterside to improve the UK programmes and be the best they can be!

Any concerns or issues that may arise are always dealt with in a timely, personal and professional manner and events are always enjoyable, well organised and a shining example of how much effort they put into our apprentices and the services they provide.

Best in Class!

Harry Mitchell, Training Officer & Continuous Improvement, Essity