With the first term of the college year drawing to a close, it’s time for a first report on Hudson Contract’s new batch of sponsored apprentices – so we’ve been out meeting three future electricians.
James Gill and Nathan Ellery, both 22, are apprentices with Scarborough firm Exley Smith Electrical. They’ve just finished an housing association job, second fixing a new kitchen and replacing a fuse box.
Nathan moved from Sheffield to Scarborough – to get the key skills he needs to become an electrician – when he couldn’t get onto his chosen course he wanted at home.
James, meanwhile, started out on work experience with Exley Smith, and saw enough to decide he wanted to follow other members of his family and become a skilled tradesman. His career has got off to a great start, as winner of the Apprentice of the Year title at this year’s STARS (Scarborough's Talented Apprentices Recognised with Success) Awards.
Both apprentices agree college is beneficial, but have come to realise that you don’t learn about working in people’s homes, taking up floorboards, working in confined spaces or enduring the cold until you get out into the real world.
Their on-site supervisor Simon Brown, recollects that when he started in the trade, it was a case of having to go to college full-time because no firm in his home town of Whitby, North Yorkshire, could to give him the opportunity to train on the job. He says: “It’s great that Exley Smith and Hudson Contract have given these guys the opportunity to get into the trade.”
Our third electrician, Chris Button, 25, is now part-way through the second year of his electrical apprenticeship at Yorkshire Coast College in Scarborough. He has also completed a full-time three year Electrical course but struggled to get work, due to lack of experience.
He says: “I feel I learnt more in my first year working for Paul than in the all three years at college put together. When it comes to being an electrician you can’t beat hands-on work. You also get to find out where all the best butty shops are, too! Seriously, on my first job we had to chase in the wires, and even after three years at college I didn’t know what that meant. But I soon found out.”
Chris is the second apprentice employer Paul Huggins has taken on through the Hudson Contract sponsorship scheme. “I’m delighted to say I have worked booked in until April 2016,” he says. “This means I needed another pair of hands, and quite apart from that, it’s so important to encourage people into the trade. Nothing compares with hands-on experience so apprenticeships are vital. Finding someone with the right attitude to learn is key, and I chose Chris because he, like my previous apprentice, is a mature student.”
Chris and Paul have been converting hotels into flats and are working on hotel refurbishments.
Hudson Contract has now sponsored 66 apprentices and are supporting a further 20 youngsters in the Bridlington and Scarborough area during this college year.