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Sony UK TEC Apprentice wins prestigious industry award

An apprentice from Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed has been recognised as one of the best in the country at the 2019 Make UK Manufacturing Awards.

Max Rochefort-Shugar, aged 22, won the Rising Star Award at the Wales-wide awards ceremony held at Voco St David’s Hotel in Cardiff on 6th November.

Originally from Cardiff, Max, who has been working at Sony UK TEC for three years, is the first candidate to take part in the company’s recently established Software and Electronic Apprenticeship.

Alongside his apprenticeship, he is due to begin his second year of a part-time Applied Software Engineering degree at Swansea University this month.

The Engineering Apprentice of the Year: Rising Star Award recognises those who have made significant effort to seize the training and development opportunities presented to them. The nominated apprentice is required to have shown significant contribution to support the business activities of their employer, which is exactly what Max has endeavoured to do.

Within the first six months of beginning his apprenticeship Max was tasked with writing a tool for modelling the Pencoed factory. This tool is still in use today by engineers at Sony UK TEC and is still under development.

Max has also written a software execution system which is currently being used on the Sony third-party business, Raspberry Pi, to manufacture, test and configure all Raspberry Pi models before they are packed and sold to customers.

Karl Bibey, Principal Engineer at Sony UK TEC and Max’s mentor, said: “Max has made an outstanding contribution to the department over the last few years. He has a passion for technology that often involves him researching software topics beyond what is necessary for his course work. Every new module that he studies in college results in a host of suggestions about how that particular technology could be applied to real world problems that the company faces.

“As a third-year apprentice, the help and assistance that he voluntarily gives less experienced members of the team has also been noted and greatly appreciated. He has shown real skill, energy and commitment in all the projects that he has been involved in, both in teams and individually. His positive attitude and keenness to learn make him a real asset to our team and a role model for other apprentices within the company.

“Max was our first Software Apprentice. We had been developing the idea of introducing a Software Apprenticeship to complement our existing Electrical and Mechanical offerings. In a way, Max has been a tester for the whole programme and has exceeded all of our expectations.

“We are absolutely thrilled for Max to win this award. It is thoroughly well deserved. He has a bright future in the industry.”

Max, reflecting on his achievements, said: “I really am grateful for the countless opportunities I have been given whilst working for Sony and would like to thank all of those who’ve supported me though my journey.

“Winning this award can be attributed to the hard work of Senior Engineers at Sony UK TEC who have mentored me throughout my Apprenticeship. I think Sony’s Apprenticeship scheme is fantastic and I look forward to continuing my development as a Software and Electronic Engineer at Sony UK TEC.”

Stephen Phipson CBE, Chief Executive of Make UK said: “Max undoubtedly deserves this award. He won the judges over with his hard work, enthusiasm and dedication. It’s right that he should be congratulated for doing so well, especially when up against other candidates of such high quality.

“Manufacturing is essential to British economic success and apprentices have a vital role to play in securing the future of our sector. It’s great to see Max’s efforts being recognised and I wish him the best of luck at the national finals.”