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SPARKS Blog: The value of hiring apprentices

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Pete Arrow is the director of a construction company and a time-served electrician. He is passionate about hiring apprentices and wants to encourage other business owners to do the same.

I reached a point in my contracting where the workload far outweighed what I was capable of doing on my own. I had a young family at home and working all the hours to keep on top of things was not how I wanted things to be.

As far as I could see I had two options: Hire another electrician or take on an apprentice. After trialling a few electricians, it was clear that it wasn’t going to work. They had bad habits. I was not happy putting my company name to the quality of their work and they weren’t interested in changing their ways. I was going to have to start from scratch.

I called around and eventually employed someone who had on-site experience, just not as an electrician. We worked well together, after a few months we had built a working relationship and were able to complete contracts to a high standard in a reasonable time. I found I was constantly learning and updating my own skills to ensure I was giving him the best training I could.

After all, the more he knew and could do, the more value he had to the company. He has since enrolled at college and has completed an electrical apprenticeship. He now works alongside me as a fully qualified electrician and our work diary has been growing ever since. I have since hired another three apprentices. I have come to realise that I’m not only hiring an apprentice, but a future co-worker with new connections for the business.

Alongside me teaching them, they are also teaching me as they are fresh from college and have learned certain aspects of electrics that I have since forgotten or need refreshing on. I find this motivates me to want to push harder with my career and become a better electrician.

I make it clear from day one what I expect from them: good timekeeping, to be clean and tidy, polite around customers and they are keen to work. I also take them on as many training days as we can. Recently we have undertaken the City and Guilds 2019 electric vehicle charging course and a manufacturer’s underfloor heating training day. The training develops them more and they become highly trained, time-served sparks.

I see a lot of poor workmanship on a daily basis. I see even more on social media. It doesn’t seem to just be DIYers either. I’ve attended plenty of sites where fully registered electricians have been there previously and left the installation unsafe. I have seen certificates signing off work with no main earth and others where the test results are clearly made up.

By hiring an apprentice and training them to the standards that we were lucky enough to be taught, we can ensure that the future will be brighter for this industry.

Previous SPARKS Blogs

Keeping electrical equipment safely maintained

The benefits of hiring apprentices

CPD in the electrical industry

What to do if you are struggling to afford tools

How electricians can become smart installers

How to promote your business locally

Learning never stops

Apprenticeship Recruitment, are you getting it right?

The ABB Connect app

Who needs knowledge?

“But, I thought…”

Legal status and qualifications

Cable strapping and good workmanship

The Big Renewable Power Charge!

A guide to floodlights

Get smart – hire an apprentice

I’m Reg and I’m here to help you!

EV Charging and the 18th Edition

Other News