Continuing our Apprentice Q&A sessions for National Apprenticeship Week 2019 we spoke to apprentice Plumber Sam to find out what it’s like being an apprentice and get some tips for those considering an apprenticeship themselves:
My Dad works at BJF as a Mechanical Project Manager and when I expressed an interest in plumbing, he recommended that I apply.
What makes a plumbing apprenticeship so special is that there are many reasons for becoming a plumber. Most importantly in the UK there is a skills shortage of trained plumbers. For this reason, finding work will never be difficult as there are variety of settings to work in including industrial, residential maintenance and repair, residential and business construction and water treatment plants.
As an apprentice, when you start out in your training, you can quickly progress, which means you can always advance and that is something most people look for in a job.
Finally, there is a lot of job satisfaction in plumbing as you get to fix people’s problems.
I initially enrolled full time at Mid Kent College to complete my level 2 in plumbing. After 12 months full time I wanted some real-life experience and so I sent through my CV to BJF and started work on site learning alongside the other plumbers whilst continuing my studies.
As part of my apprenticeship I am studying for an NVQ level 3 in plumbing and this has been over a 3 year period. I no longer go to college but my tutor regular visits me on various projects.
There is a friendly, buzzy atmosphere at BJF which I really like working within. During my time as an apprentice I have learned how to communicate with the public for their HVAC and Plumbing needs in a concerned and caring way which is very important for me to be able to portray BJF in the best light. The workplace culture here is friendly and caring and my managers are open to receiving suggestions for training and other ways to help me to achieve my goals. The most enjoyable part of the job is when we come together and solve problems. I really do enjoy working for BJF Group.
Like my brother Tom who is also a BJF apprentice I am also hoping to continue my career in plumbing within BJF as I see this as a long-term career opportunity.
An apprenticeship is designed to be a structured training and work programme which equips you with the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in the workplace so don’t be afraid to really get stuck in.
You’ll gain first-hand experience of your chosen profession and industry by dedicating 20% of your working hours to off-the-job training to achieve your qualification. Make sure you actively seek out work that will allow you to test the skills you learn in college to make the most of your off-the-job training.
You have regular reviews with your tutor to ensure that you are well supported and that you are progressing at the right pace so be prepared to feed back on the work you have been doing.
As an apprentice, you will receive the same benefits as other employees especially within the BJF Group, such as holiday entitlement and pension contributions which means that there is a certain level of expectation on you. It is important to take your apprenticeship seriously but if you work somewhere like BJF you’ll have fun at the same time.