SPARKS

National Apprenticeship Week 2020: SPARKS Stars

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As part of our celebration of National Apprenticeship Week 2020, we caught up with the winner of last year’s SPARKS Apprentice of the Year competition, Ben Kidner, and runner-up, Chris Davenport, to see how they are getting on.

 

To catch up with what’s been happening at this year’s competition, head to our SPARKS Apprentice of the Year 2020 live updates page.

 

Ben Kidner – SPARKS Apprentice of the Year 2019 winner

 

SPARKS: What have you been up to since the competition?

Ben Kidner: A lot of training practicing for the SkillELECTRIC competition. I was actually awarded gold in the SkillELECTRIC competition and I’m now waiting to see if I have done enough to be eligible for the WorldSkills UK squad.

 

SPARKS: Has your employer been giving you more responsibility since taking part?

BK: Yes, since winning the competition I have been given the responsibility of running my own jobs.

 

SPARKS: Looking back at the competition, what has been the biggest benefit of entering?

BK: The biggest benefit of entering is the real confidence booster it has gave me

 

SPARKS: How have the prizes helped you?

BK: The prizes have helped me to improve my testing skills by having my own Kewtech Multimeter and I have been able to be quicker and more efficient thanks to the WAGO prize.

 

SPARKS: What piece of advice would you give to people entering this year’s competition?

BK: Keep calm, read your instructions and remember to double-check your measurements when marking out as it’s the foundations of your install.

 

SPARKS: What is the best thing about the competition?

BK: The generosity of the sponsors and the huge support from all of the SPARKS team.

 

SPARKS: What did you find hardest last year?

BK: The hardest things last year were the bridge sets in the PVC conduit – being able to get each one bent exactly the same.

 

SPARKS: What do you hope to achieve in your career?

BK: I hope to have my own company one day in the future

 

Chris Davenport – SPARKS Apprentice of the Year 2019 runner-up

 

SPARKS: What have you been up to since the competition?

Chris Davenport: Since the competition I have been working hard at Legoland Windsor after managing to get myself a job as an animations engineer!

 

SPARKS: Has your employer been giving you more responsibility since taking part?

CD: My employer has given me all sorts of new opportunities to work and plan projects, from wiring upgrades to adding new effects to rides.

 

SPARKS: Looking back at the competition, what has been the biggest benefit of entering?

CD: The biggest benefit is definitely the confidence boost. Since the competition, I have been aiming to achieve bigger and better things that I wouldn’t have before simply due to the confidence I have in myself, knowing my work has the quality and professionalism needed to finish in second place in the SPARKS competition.

 

SPARKS: How have the prizes helped you?

CD: I use the prizes on my daily activities, from my toolbag that I use daily to the tools donated by Schneider Electric – they’ve really helped me progress my career and made everyday activities easier.

 

SPARKS: What piece of advice would you give to people entering this year’s competition?

CD: My advice is practice, practice, practice! Don’t stop practicing until you can get it all done perfectly with your eyes closed!

 

SPARKS: What is the best thing about the competition?

CD: It was definitely the camaraderie. Everyone felt welcome and we actually felt like a team, despite being competitors.

 

SPARKS: What did you find hardest last year?

CD: The hardest thing for me in the competition was definitely the conduit bending. It really doesn’t seem like a difficult task until you try bending two pieces and have them look the same. Especially with the added pressure, it really gets you.

 

SPARKS: What do you hope to achieve in your career?

CD: Since the finals I have managed to land my dream job working in the special effect theme park industry. I hope to continue to improve my skills across a wide range of types of electrics and climb the career ladder in this niche industry!

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