Former Apprentice of the Year finalist talks about his experience, what he’s gone on to do since and urges others to follow suit.
With the search now on to find the second NICEIC and ELECSA Electrical Apprentice of the Year (2017), Marie Parry, Marketing Director of Scolmore Group – the competition’s partner sponsor – catches up with one of this year’s finalists, Michael Woolley, to see how life has changed for him. “I think the biggest thing that the competition did for me was to boost my confidence and open my eyes to the opportunities out there,” said Michael. “I never expected to get through to the final stages and I did struggle with some of the tasks on the day, but that made me more determined to push myself and get more experience under my belt.
“I decided to apply for a job with the Orton Group, and rang them. They don’t normally take on apprentices from the training provider I was with, but I managed to sell myself to them and the fact that I had reached the finals of the competition made a really good impression. When I sent in my CV for consideration, I included a hyperlink to the story and picture of the finalists that had appeared in some of the media and I even took in my trophy and certificate to show them when I went for my interview. It all paid off and they offered me a job.”
Having now finished all his college work for Level 3, Michael just has his NVQ portfolio to submit, which he hopes to do in January. He is currently working full time out on-site and is enjoying a bigger variety of work than he was previously undertaking.
“I would definitely urge any Level 3 apprentices out there, who may not think they are up to it, to get their applications in.”
He continues: “Previously I was working solely on domestic projects, but now I am involved in a lot of commercial projects, most recently the refurbishment of a block of apartments. I am really enjoying the variety of the work and the great thing about working for a larger organisation like Orton is that there are lots of opportunities and lots of departments to move around.
“I can honestly say that if I hadn’t entered the competition, I wouldn’t be here today. It gave me an insight into what I could achieve and also the confidence to follow it through. I would definitely urge any Level 3 apprentices out there, who may not think they are up to it, to get their applications in.”
There is still time for apprentices to enter. The competition is open to all Level 3 students and will once again seek to test the skills and knowledge of those candidates who put themselves forward. The brightest talents will be rewarded with a range of fantastic prizes – including holiday vouchers worth £2,000 for the winner, £750 for the runner-up and £250 for third place. The eight finalists will also each receive an engraved trophy, an iPad and a ‘Van Pack’ of Scolmore products, while the college of the overall winner will receive £1,000 worth of Scolmore products.
The grand final will take place at Scolmore Group’s head offices in Tamworth, Staffordshire, on Tuesday 6 June, when candidates will be required to complete a number of challenging practical tasks over the course of the day. The Electrical Apprentice of the Year will be crowned at a special barbecue and awards ceremony to be held at The Belfry Hotel & Resort that evening.