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.


Vanderlande are proud to be partnered with Waterside Training as our principle training provider in the Northwest to deliver technical training to our teams, especially the Mechanical Maintenance VRQ L2 programme.

The mixture of technical knowledge and practical elements which our delegates have received over the course of the year combined to make a fulfilling experience. The course was engaging with many opportunities to participate and lots of relatable examples that we were able to bring back to site. This was found after a full site tour by the Waterside team to expertly devise the best course to deliver our teams with knowledge of the process and equipment on site.

We have now trained at least half of the Engineering Support Operatives across our four shifts with all the teams and site reaping the rewards in maintenance completion and system performance through the continued support given and putting into practice the skills they learnt. The tutorship given is professional with tailored delivery to the differing knowledge of the attendees on each course, which ultimately shows how diverse the styles of teaching are at Waterside Training.

This has set our Engineering Support Operatives on an Engineering and Technical pathway to offer hands on support for our teams of Service Technicians to deliver planned and reactive maintenance across the largest warehouse in both Vanderlande’s and Asda’s UK portfolio.

We look forward to upskilling our single trade Service Technicians in the near future with expertly tailored courses to have a truly Multi-Skilled Engineering team at our disposal.

Josh McCormack, Service Operations Manager, Vanderlande