It’s National Apprenticeship Week. It’s not one we could let pass without celebrating why it’s important to have apprentices as a business and also what it means for the apprentice.
In their own words Dan Mather and Connor Doherty tell the story of apprenticeship here at JKE Fire & Security.
The Q&A spotlight with Connor
What made you choose the apprenticeship route?
A lot of people usually see an apprenticeship as a way of income however I look at is as a lot more than that. Yes earning whilst I’m learning is a great feeling however I feel like taking the apprenticeship route was a amazing opening to the start of a successful future. This time last year I probably would have never said I’d be doing a apprenticeship doing fire and security as I was in college studying sport! I also feel like I can tailor my own career path as I could take skills I’m learning on an apprenticeship and transfer them onto other industries. My final reason would be I have the freedom to change, shape and grow my career as an apprentice.
Are you enjoying your apprenticeship?
I’m around 5 months in, I’d say I’m enjoying myself a lot.
What message would you give to kids at school about choosing the apprenticeship route?
A message I’d give to kids at school about choosing an apprenticeship is to keep there options open about taking an apprenticeship. I feel an apprenticeship is the best way to learn because your exposed to real life scenarios and you can practically learn as well as to learn whilst observing
What’s the best thing about your working day at JKE?
Id say that best thing about my day when working with JKE is when we have days that are more difficult and when they really get our mind boggling. Because at the end of the day when the job is done we can look back and say we finally did that. Even with projects we do across site that we walk past, it’s nice to think that we as a group did that.
What our business owner says
What made you take an apprentice into JKE?
Firstly, the company has undergone significant growth over the last 12 months and the engineering team needed bolstering. When looking at the options, the sensible thing to do was explore the apprenticeship route as this most suited the business and allows us to bring on somebody that we can ‘home grow’.
Secondly, there is a massive deficit of decent engineers in the market and those who know their value tend to set themselves up as subcontractors unless they are content staying where they are. S this not only enables us to resource our needs effectively but also gives the next generation a great opportunity for the future.
What has it involved having an apprentice engineer?
The apprentice provider – Skills for Security, were fantastic and helped every step of the way. Once we completed the paperwork and registered with HMRC, we took on Connor on a 3 week work placement. This enabled both parties to ensure that there was a correct fit within JKE Fire & Security.
Once we were both happy to proceed, Connor began work with us on an apprenticeship contract.
Every so often, there is the requirement to attend college for a week where he can both show off his learnings or bring back new things he has been taught.
What’s your message to other businesses about taking on apprentices?
I would strongly recommend it. The process is simple and why would anybody not want to bring in the next generation, upskill them with the specific requirements to suit your business and help them grow.
It is my opinion that Connor will be so upskilled in the future, the onus will be on me to keep him. That’s when you know you have done a great job.
Would you take on another apprentice when Connor qualifies?
Absolutely. Not just when he qualifies but as soon as the business can resource one and this may not just be on the engineering side. There are many other roles within the business that could benefit from an apprentice.
What are the main benefits to having an apprentice within the team?
There are times that an engineer working alone presents certain risks and so a second person is essential. In these instances, it does not make business sense to deploy two qualified engineers and so an apprentice is perfect. This also gives the apprentice some quality time to refine his/her skills.
Jobs can get completed a lot quicker by having an apprentice onboard, just imagine – help carrying the kit, footing the ladders, holding the torch, but then there are the rewards – giving a springboard to a youngster to succeed in life, training someone else which in turn reinforces your own knowledge, and just the feel good factor that you know that you are helping by giving opportunity in such a difficult climate.