When Erihs Janovskis arrived in Northampton from Latvia nine years ago, barely able to speak the language, he wasn’t sure what the future held.
With no real idea of a possible career, the hard-working student set about learning English and enrolled on an ESOL course, which he passed with flying colours.
He saved enough money to send home to help his mother buy her own flat, dramatically improving her quality of life.
“Latvia is a very poor country” he said, “it is difficult to earn good money. In England I knew that if I worked hard I could earn 10 times what I could in Latvia.
“The problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
Erihs, or Eric as he has become known to his friends, found himself working at a local food manufacturer and quickly established him as a valued member of the team, earning a reputation for his problem-solving abilities.
He was recommended for an apprenticeship programme and begun an engineering course at Northampton College.
Eric impressed tutors with his insatiable appetite for learning, staying behind to ask extra questions or practice newly-acquired skills.
He was singled out by his employer as a shining example of a hard-working and committed worker and was put forward for a national apprenticeship award. Out of 470 entrants across the country, Eric won.
Eric continued his studies enrolling on a Level 3 BTEC Diploma course in Electronic/Electrical Engineering. Throughout the two years of this course Eric has consistently produced a very high standard of work achieving Distinction grades in all of the units.
Eric’s course tutor Ian Mundy said: “He hasn’t just produced enough work to satisfy the criteria he has consistently gone beyond what was required.”
For Eric’s final year project he chose to solve a real world problem that his company was having with the ultrasonic cutting tools used to cut the sandwiches they produce.
When the machine was broken down for cleaning, if the parts were not reassembled and aligned correctly the cutting tool would be broken, this problem was costing the company thousands of pounds a year.
Eric has produced a fully documented project that is so good it is going to be used as an exemplar of the quality of work required for a distinction grade.
Ian Mundy said: “This is the best project that I have ever assessed. Not only in terms of the level and detail of the documentation but also in the amount of work he has done to produce the solution in his workplace.
“It is a testimony to the quality of his work that it will actually be used by his employer once it has passed the stringent safety checks required.”
Eric, 28, said: “I am hoping to carry on my studies and progress onto higher levels. I enjoy it here and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I have received.”