Composites Technician – Gavin Bolton

The Job
My job as a composites Technician involves the production of components such as wings, suspension, chassis bodywork and crash structures such as the nose and rear crash structure. Firstly layers of resin impregnated carbon fibre are laminated onto a mould. This is then cured in a vacuum bag inside an autoclave (pressurised oven) to set the resin and form a rigid structure.
From here, the cured component is removed from the mould and this is then trimmed to the correct outline shape. Lastly any small pieces or brackets are attached using adhesives or mechanical fixings (such as rivets) and then the finished component is passed on for inspection.

First steps
Work experience is a great place to start and I was very fortunate to get work experience with the Williams F1 Team. However, F1 teams are not the only place to apply as there are also many companies that work with composite materials in areas ranging from motorsports through to marine and aerospace.

What Qualifications do I need ?
I did a modern apprenticeship in motorsports engineering with this company’s previous guise - Benetton F1 Team. This included full time on the job learning here at Enstone and I studied for a GNVQ and NVQ levels 2 and 3 in motorsports engineering at Rycotewood College in Oxfordshire. This course has now transferred to Banbury and Bicester College in Oxfordshire.

Where would I start ?
An apprenticeship is a great way to gain the required qualifications whilst gaining on the job experience and I would recommend this to anyone looking to get into motorsports engineering. My course was also available as a full time college study course. There are also other college courses available around the country. Contact F1 teams and other motorsports companies and ask what they offer in the way of apprenticeships and then research college courses in motorsports engineering to see what courses are available.

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