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Apprentices say hands-on learning and mentorship key to success

Manufacturing apprentices Justin Harradon and Alexander LoVecchio share their success stories.

Manufacturing apprentices Justin Harradon and Alexander LoVecchio share their success stories


Apprentices: Justin Harradon and Alexander LoVecchio
Location: Spraying Systems in Merrimack, NH
Community College: Nashua Community College

Justin and Alexander are two of the three apprentices participating in the ApprenticeshipNH program at Spraying Systems in Merrimack.  They are CNC operator apprentices at the company and are working towards the completion of an apprenticeship that consists of 1,120 hours of classroom instruction through Nashua Community College (NCC) and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.  Upon completion of the apprenticeship, participants will earn the Machine Tool Technology CNC Programming Certificate (40 credits) from the college.

The Spraying Systems apprentices recently sat down with us to tell us a bit more about what their apprenticeship experience has been like thus far.

What made you decide to join the ApprenticeshipNH program?

Justin: I had already been working at Spraying Systems for about a year and half when Spraying Systems’ new apprenticeship program came about. As soon as I heard about it, I jumped on it – I knew it would be a great opportunity for me.
Alexander: Before joining the program I was finding myself less interested in my field of study – I was going to college for something else. One of my hobbies has always been being handy and making things, and this seemed like the right path for me.

What have you found to be most helpful during your apprenticeship experience?

Justin: Aside from the classwork that I do at school, it’s mostly the on-the-job training that we do here at the company.  Having all the hands on experience and access to a mentor onsite who can help further guide our experience at college and at work has been really great.
Alexander: Definitely the faculty at NCC.  They make the program easy to understand and have helped me to navigate some more confusing aspects of the program as well as the well-versed and experienced employees here at Spraying Systems.

Is there anything in particular that stands out? A favorite moment?

Justin:One of my favorite parts of the program has been learning new things about the field and the manufacturing industry. I also really like the rewarding parts of the job itself – making quality parts, and helping to achieve the goals of the company.
Alexander: I really like days where I’m at work doing something and then I go home and do school work and find that what I’m studying and what I’m doing at work line up perfectly. It’s really nice to feel the two components of the apprenticeship working together.

What kinds of qualities do you think it takes to be successful in the ApprenticeshipNH program?

Justin: You need to have the drive and the desire to learn and make the achievement. You also have to be willing to be a committed employee as well.
Alexander: Determination as well as self-motivation are important. I entered the program having had no previous work experience at Spraying Systems, so there was a steep learning curve and a lot of work to do up front coming in to the program.

Spraying Systems Co., a Merrimack-based advanced manufacturer, recently partnered with ApprenticeshipNH

Why did you choose this career path? What inspired you?

Justin: I have a friend who does similar work and suggested that I consider a career in manufacturing. The work is very hands-on and can require a lot of math which I’ve always enjoyed as well.
Alexander: I chose to work in manufacturing because I find it rewarding to start with just tools and materials and in the end wind up having added value to a particular part. It’s a rewarding feeling to make good parts, and you feel like you’ve really accomplished something every day.

What have you learned about yourself as apprentices and what advice would you give to others?

Justin: I’ve learned that are lots of opportunities in this job to work as part of a team, but a lot of it is also working independently. My advice would be to be confident in yourself, and don’t always feel like you need to rely on somebody else for help.
Alexander: I’ve learned a lot about how to be a good learner and a good student. In the workplace, learning is a lot different than it is in school.  Before this program I had done a handful of internships but here at Spraying Systems the shop floor has a very professional, production-oriented culture. Figuring out how to learn on-the-job from my co-workers without becoming intrusive or causing delays in workflow was a big learning experience for me.

If you could describe your experience in the ApprenticeshipNH program in one word, what would it be?

Justin: Rewarding.
Alexander: Challenging.  Not because it’s hard, but because it takes effort and it feels rewarding.

What is on the horizon for you upon completing the program?

Justin: I’d like to keep advancing in the manufacturing field, possibly into a management position where I’d have more responsibility.
Alexander: I’d like to continue with machining, and working in this industry. Later on down the road, I’d like to consider eventually knowing enough about the field that I could teach or be an instructor.

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