Dan Jackson is a business coach who left behind his electrical company to travel the world with his family.
His YouTube channel, Dans the Engineer, discusses various issues a tradesperson might face and is still home to his day in the life of an electrician-style videos, and has gathered more than 4,000 subscribers and 500,000 views, with many interacting with him as he discusses products, issues and the industry.
We asked Dan to give advice to apprentices about his own journey, and what it takes to make it.
SPARKS Magazine: Lovely to speak with you again, Dan. How did you get an apprenticeship?
Dan Jackson: I applied by letter to around 200 companies. A building services company gave me a chance!
SPARKS: Was it everything you expected it to be?
DJ: It was different from what I expected. I previously worked for my dad in the school holidays building houses. The work I started doing for my first company was commercial work – mainly high rises in central London. My boss texted me the location the day before and I had to search how to get there on the internet and print off some notes on how to do it. We didn’t have apps and decent internet on mobiles back then!
SPARKS: Did anything shock you?
DJ: I was shocked how many hours people worked. I previously worked selling tropical fish and the odd paper round, but I was working 12 hours day plus weekends. It took a while to get used to it but once I got used to it, I loved it.
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I had the film crew in yesterday. They were asking my view on apprenticeships. For all who don't know, I am an electrician and very passionate about electrical and fire safety 💡🔥 . I am grateful at the opportunity to be able to provide my opinion on the industry and how the youngsters are the key to the success within the industry. I believe training and education in the right manner is so important to anyone . I learnt more through a combination of practical experience and class room tuition which worked well for me but I know I leant better having hands on experience rather than having my head in a book . I always wonder what my children will be when they are older but I know for certain I won't be pushing them in any direction that they don't want to go. They can choose their paths and I will encourage and guide where I can! . Happy weekend people! . #filmcrew #theapprentice #futuregeneration
SPARKS: What were the three main things you learned while doing your apprenticeship?
- Experience and knowledge are the most important attributes. They will improve your personal development. To gain experience and knowledge you need to work the hours and constantly learn – even outside of your normal working hours.
- Once you qualify, that is only the start of your electrical career.
- It’s important to listen to peers, supervisors and colleagues and follow guidance. Having a good mentor can be very useful.
SPARKS: Is there anything you thought was missing from your training?
DJ: I lacked support from employers. I wasn’t treated very well by many and it seemed like I wasn’t valued as an apprentice, yet my colleagues really enjoyed me working with them. I wish the employers would have taken a bigger interest in my training and future.
SPARKS: If you could create your ideal apprentice, what top three traits would you like to see?
- Asks questions until I have to tell them to stop.
- Wants to be a team player.