Home / News / Ambitious Apprentice Engineers at Themis at Burnley College create innovative 3D models and impress their employers at Boohoo

Ambitious Apprentice Engineers at Themis at Burnley College create innovative 3D models and impress their employers at Boohoo

Two Themis Advanced Mechatronics Engineering Apprentices have impressed their employers by designing and 3D printing innovative tools to make the workplace even safer and more efficient.

Jacob Platt, 18, from Astley, Greater Manchester, and Sebastian Swindells, 18, from Waddington, have both started their careers as Themis Apprentices at Boohoo, the successful, multi-national  online fashion retailer.

And both have made a huge impression with Boohoo management – by recognising a potential need for new devices; designing and then 3D printing prototypes to make the company even more efficient.

Sebastian was keen to increase efficiency for engineers working on the production line. He noticed one task which could slow down output was replacing damaged belts on motors. After talking to the engineers, he has created a unique Belt Box, designed to carry all the spares potentially needed in one simple container – saving several journeys to the storeroom.

Sebastian, who attended Bowland High School, says the idea came to him straight away:

“Time is money on a production line. The longer it’s down, the more money you lose.

“Changing damaged belts is one of the most common jobs, but finding out which belt is broken then heading to the store room to get a replacement was taking a lot of time.

“I realised if I could design a simple, lightweight and easy-to-carry box which contained everything you’d need to fix any belt on the system, we could save hours every day.”

Jacob, meanwhile, used his problem-solving abilities to create an improved storage system for ladders on the shop floor. He identified how he could potentially both increase safety and ensure vital equipment remained where it was needed. Instead of chains and padlocks to secure ladders, Jacob designed a quick-release system which keeps the ladders safe and vertical, as well as allowing them to be locked, to make sure they stay where needed.

Jacob says the concept for the product came quickly to him and added:

“The actual design took me around two-and-a-half weeks. I specialise in CAD (Computer Aided Design) so I worked on getting the model exactly right.

“The facilities at the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Excellence at Themis at Burnley College are exactly the same as you work with in industry, which meant Sebastian and I could use the 3D printers to turn our ideas and designs into reality.”

Using state-of-the-art 3D printers at Themis, Jacob and Sebastian spent a month turning their plans into fully-functioning prototypes to demonstrate to their employers. The management team at Boohoo were so impressed by the Themis Apprentices’ ingenuity and problem-solving skills they are now considering further development of the prototypes and they introduction into the company’s warehousing facility.

Chris Platt, Themis Engineering Curriculum Manager, says he’s immensely proud of the initiative the Apprentices have shown:


Being a Themis Apprentice is so much more than simply training in the theory and the practice of your trade.

Chris Platt

Curriculum Manager

We are committed to supporting the development of the very best Apprentices, those who have the additional skills valued by employers, such as problem-solving, communication, confidence and team work.

“By securing Apprenticeships with industry-leaders such as Boohoo and perfecting their skills and knowledge with expert trainers in the industry-standard facilities at Themis at Burnley College, our Apprentices are given every opportunity to excel and take the first steps to becoming a #futureboss.

“Jacob and Sebastian have shown exactly the kind of initiative and confidence that will see them excel in their future careers.”

Do you have a passion for engineering and are ready to start a career with one of the North West’s leading employers in this exciting sector? The Engineering industry is bouncing back stronger than ever following Covid-19 and is seeking to recruit exceptional Apprentices with the skills, knowledge and attitude to make a difference. Visit Themis at Burnley College to view our industry-standard Engineering workshops, talk to our expert Tutors and Trainers and discover how you can start your successful career as a Themis Apprentice – book your individual, Covid-safe tour here: www.burnley.ac.uk/whats-on/events/themis-at-burnley-college-on-campus-tours/