At the age of 16, many people have no clear idea of what they want to do in life. It is possible that Andy Neate had no idea as well, but the Aylesbury lad has come a long way since then. While many people will know him as a BTCC driver, Andy is in the focus this week for his remarkable achievements as an engineer. The seeds of that success were sown when he left school at 16 and started an engineering apprenticeship with ATG Training. Andy is now chief technology officer of Ceravision and the proud inventor of the ground-breaking high efficiency plasma (HEP) technology. He is also among the inductees to the Apprenticeship Hall of Fame, sharing the honour with a group of successful Britons whose glittering careers began with apprenticeships, IP Tech Race Engineering reports.
Andy is in the company of former apprentices like celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, Olympic gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington, gardening expert and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh and Mercedes Formula One team principal Ross Brawn. This eclectic mix reflects the diverse opportunities and enormous potential of apprenticeships as a career starting point.
Andy firmly believes that his resounding success as an engineer is rooted in his beginnings as an electronics apprentice. He does not believe he would be in his present position without the support and guidance received during his training. Andy has remained a staunch advocate of apprenticeships and will continue to promote this career route. As a former apprentice and a current employer, he will bring his experience to bear as patron of a national engineering apprenticeship organisation that is expected to launch this summer.
I write this feeling slightly battered and bruised after an ace night out at Rouge Racings Kart track in Aylesbury.
The competition was feirce and during the pre race banter you could hear “I’ll be aiming for the one in his own race suit and helmet”… well at least that’s what I thought anyway. At least John G has his own suit and helmet aswell, maybe they were refering to him?!
Anyway, with racesuits and helmets donned, as Murray Walker would have said “the time for talking has finished – the time for racing has begun”
The karts were lined up in the pit lane one behind the other and I was hoping to have the one on the front for a quick get away and get a ‘clean’ lap in without being held up by anyone else so that I could get pole position and lead the race out.
Sadly I was awarded the equivelant of a wooden spoon in the shape of the kart right at the back of the pack.
So, using my cunning and guile, I pushed my way through the traffic and set a time that was good enough for pole.
Myself, John and Jason made up the first three positions on the grid and as the lights went green all hell broke loose.
I only crashed once, but what I lacked in Quantity I made up for in quality, I braked far later than I should have done and shot backwards at high speed into the barrier at the end of the fastest straight on the course with a bang that Barry Scott (off of Cillit Bang) would have been proud of.
At the halfway stage (40 laps) we stopped for a well earned rest and to be fair I would have been happy if it had finished there, as I was in first place. Everything to loose then!
After far to short a time we were ushered back to the karts to complete the final 40 laps.
Apart from a BIG off for Neil and Simon, I felt the second stage flowed more smoothly and I had a great dice with Gary and John G for track position.
Pizza was ordered and a good time had by all (especially me as I won it!)
If you fancy trying your hand at karting and taking my step at the top of the podium (good luck, you’ll need it!) then make sure your name is down for the next one when Jason asks!