Sophie's apprenticeship journey - From classic cars to building and testing - tharsus

Sophie’s apprenticeship journey – From classic cars to building and testing

Introducing Sophie, Jack and Oscar - some of our apprentices at Tharsus

Category Other
By Kerry Patterson

In this series we want to introduce you to some of our apprentices and let them share their stories with you.

At Tharsus, we invest in our people. We’re all about working with bright, keen people who want to develop their knowledge and skills to take them through their whole career. This allows us to attract and keep the best talent to deliver the highest quality Strategic Machines for our customers. Our apprentices are at the heart of this.

We’re passionate about providing a great training and development programme for all our apprentices. We feel it’s important for them to get experience in all areas of the business, so they can really understand what it takes to design and manufacture a Strategic Machine.

Let’s meet Sophie Laidlaw. Sophie is a first year electro mechanical Apprentice. She’d like to share a little about what led her to Tharsus and her experience with us so far.

What did you do before you joined Tharsus?

I worked in various industries from retail, classic car restoration and property management. I then decided I wanted a new career in something that really interested me, so I started a level 3 qualification in engineering at college.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship over other options available to you?

I chose an apprenticeship because of the experience and opportunities it offers. Having worked since leaving school at 18 – over 10 years ago – I knew that experience is worth more to a company than a diploma or degree. With an apprenticeship, I knew I would gain an equivalent qualification as well as two years of real-world experience at the same time.

As a “mature apprentice”, I know there is a huge attraction to being paid whilst learning. Not having to pay thousands of pounds towards a qualification is brilliant in my eyes.

Why did you want to work in this sector and what led you to Tharsus?

I have been interested in engineering for as long as I can remember. At a young age, I was always in my grandfather’s garage helping him restore old cars during the summer holidays. Although, helping might be a bit of an exaggeration! It was more like fetching the wrong tools over and over again until I got it right!

While I was at college, I thought I’d like to be a technician on offshore wind turbines. The more I looked into this though, the more I realised that the technology wasn’t really changing. I wanted to do something that’s on the cutting edge, so I turned towards robotics, automation and AI.

This led me to Tharsus who had just been recognised nationally as Employer of the Year 2019 by the Chamber Business Awards and had just won Company of the Year in the North East Business Awards.  Impressive credentials! When I heard about the Tharsus Engineering Apprenticeship, I applied straight away.

What is your typical day like at Tharsus?

There isn’t a typical work day. Every day is different. And this is what makes it great. There are always new challenges and solutions to discover.

Most days start with a morning briefing to discuss the requirements for the day and allocate tasks to complete. Tasks involve building and testing sub-components, carrying out quality checks, final builds and Factory Acceptance Testing. Some days we have project meetings to discuss new projects or new requirements for existing ones.

What would you say to someone who is think about applying for an apprenticeship at Tharsus?

There’s a great career ahead of you at the end of it with an exciting company and a great team. Tharsus has a well-structured apprenticeship programme in place which has allowed me to gain experience and knowledge of all aspects of the business, providing me the opportunity to develop a far broader skills profile than a more conventional programme.


Next time we catch up with Jack Greener who shares his story about his apprenticeship with Tharsus.


Last year, between Tharsus and our sister company Universal Wolf we took on 10 apprentices and this year, were looking for more. The applications for this year’s intake will be up on our careers websitefrom late January. If you’re really keen to start an exciting and rewarding career with us, we’re really keen to hear from you.


About Tharsus

We design and manufacture Strategic Machines. Strategic Machines make a strategic difference to our customers’ business performance by solving tough automation problems and creating new business opportunities. The right Strategic Machine helps businesses tackle people and resource scarcity, environmental challenges, changing consumer behaviour and disruptive competitors and technologies.

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