Marine Pipe Fitter

  • Name:Joe Coutts
  • Location:Devonport
  • Sector:Marine

My name is Joe, I am 17, and just finishing my first year of the Marine Pipe Fitter apprenticeship.

My apprentice trade, why I chose it and why I chose Babcock:

When I applied to Babcock, I really wanted a versatile trade which would enable me to learn a wide range of skills and qualifications. After researching about the different trades available I very quickly realised that Pipe Fitting would be a perfect opportunity for me. This is because of the amazing tasks which you will carry out, such as manufacturing and testing pipe systems on large frigates and submarines. I chose Babcock over other companies because of the variety of the work, as well as the invaluable global opportunities they offer in many different countries such as Australia and Canada!

My Typical Day:

During the first year of my apprenticeship, I have learnt new skills which are imperative for the trade – including welding, brazing, thermal cutting, measuring, assembling pipes and much more!

As well as engaging in exciting projects, I am also working towards an NVQ level 2 qualification. This involves completing many different questions which test your knowledge and progress for each unit, ensuring that I am are ready for the end of year exams.

My favourite part of the job:

My favourite part of the job is taking on new tasks as my knowledge and experience grows. In the second year of my apprenticeship, my skills will be put to use in the dockyard assisting with the refit programme of large offshore patrol vessels.

Most challenging thing I’ve ever done to date:

One of the most challenging things I have done to date is manufacture and assemble pipe systems. This took a lot of time and patience as every dimension had to be very accurate, with only a millimetre or two tolerance. Although this task was challenging it was also very exciting as we got the chance to hydrostatic test the system to see if it would really survive in a frigates or submarines without leaking or bursting.