Final Fix: Giving Something Back

Final Fix: Giving Something Back

Fresh off the back of National Apprenticeship Week in March, Tony Cable tells us more about the work he is doing to attract more young people into the industry.

Part of my current job with Certsure (NICEIC and ELECSA) is to go around the country visiting colleges
and talking to the students. My talk will usually start off with a bit about the traditional career path of a spark – from apprentice or trainee to experienced spark and then, hopefully one day, company owner.

I then go on to explain more about the varied aspects of our trade and the differences between maintenance, commercial, industrial and domestic electricians. All have the same electrical principles and regulations but, in reality, are completely different jobs. The students generally find this part of the talk the most interesting as they’re keen to get a start in the sector and aren’t always aware of the different options open to them.

Indeed, something I’ve noticed more and more is that not all the students in colleges are lucky enough to be on an apprenticeship. Many of those on full-time courses are there of their own accord and are desperate to get a job. I tell them what I’ve told every young kid looking to make a start in the sector: write to as many firms as possible and just hope for a lucky break!

At the end of the day we all started out that way once and were lucky enough to be given a chance somewhere along the line, so I’d always ask companies that receive a letter from a young apprentice to consider that fact before dismissing it completely.

“Yes I did include ‘girls’ in this as I’m definitely seeing more females in the colleges now and, like the boys, all they want is a chance to get on that career ladder.”

On the other side of the coin, if you’re a firm that is thinking of taking on a trainee or apprentice then why not contact your local college and see if they can recommend a boy or girl that would suit your requirements? Yes I did include ‘girls’ in this as I’m definitely seeing more females in the colleges now and, like the boys, all they want is a chance to get on that career ladder.

I spent 15 years teaching in a technical college before leaving some 30 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I took early retirement and was made redundant because of the lack of students at the time; the building section was in total decline and it certainly wasn’t fashionable to be in the building trade at that point.

Now when I visit colleges the building sections are booming and expanding and there seems to be a lot of money thrown at this particular sector, likely driven by the chronic shortage of good tradesmen. College, however, is only the start to teaching a trade and it’s only when that training theory is applied on-site that the student really learns.

So remember, if you do need some flesh blood injected into your company then you could do a lot worse than getting in touch with your local college!

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