Tell us a little about your experience as an apprentice
“Since the start of my apprenticeship, I’ve spent one day a week in college with the rest of the working week on site. I’ve found it manageable balancing work with college since they complement each other so well. Any learning I do on site allows for better understanding in college, and any theory I learn in college helps me appreciate what I’m installing on site.”
What are your career highlights so far?
“A small win for me was in my first year when I was given my first chance to gland a cable unassisted. I sweated over it and tried to make it perfect and after getting inspected I got the nod of approval. It was something quite unassuming, but it showed I’d made progress and that was enough for me.
“Being a part of the ECITBs Innov8 Group has been unreal. I feel genuinely inspired when I meet with the group, and I always feel that my opinions are valued. It’s great to be given a platform to help give back to an industry that’s already given a lot to me.”
What do apprenticeships give you in terms of skills for life?
“Flexibility. I think this is a skill worth carrying with you through your career and beyond. A massive part of being an apprentice is learning through being a help rather than a hinderance. And everyone you work with is different. In finding the best ways to learn and to help, you learn to become more adaptable. Things are always changing, so being able to adapt helps you advance in your career.
“Also, patience. When you start out as an apprentice you’re told to be motivated, always pay attention and always be helpful. I was never told to be patient, but it’s something that’s essential to develop in your qualification. It’s a long process and nearly everything you’ll be doing when you start out is completely new, so you’ll have to be understanding that things take time and how not to rush things that shouldn’t be rushed.”
Do you think apprenticeships are important for the future?
“Apprenticeships are a benefit to everyone. Opportunistic companies can grow talent within their business and train the apprentice in a way which benefits both parties. Skill shortages in our industry make it increasingly difficult to hire the ‘right fit for the job’, so it makes sense to invest in an apprentice and develop them to become that right fit.
“It’s important not to understate how useful they are to the apprentices too. It’s an opportunity to gain knowledge and priceless experience in a career you’re interested in whilst earning a salary at the same time.
“In my experience as an apprentice, you’re in an environment where mistakes are accepted as a part of your learning. There’s no sense of judgement when you get things wrong, so you feel more comfortable to ask questions.”
If you could give 15/16-year-old Jamie one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Ask as many questions to as many people as you can before they tell you to go away!”