On day two of National Apprenticeship Week 2019 we caught up with Plumbing Apprentice Tom. Here’s what he had to say about his time as a BJF Group apprentice:
I found out about BJF’s apprenticeship programme through my father who already works at BJF Group as a Mechanical Project Manager. He has always said that he really enjoys working here and recommended that I apply.
Whilst at school I helped my father at weekends quite often and I soon realised that I wanted to be a plumber. The reason I chose the apprenticeship route is that an apprenticeship allows you to gain independence and, in my opinion, can get you closer to where you want to be in life.
Being a plumber doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing house calls and fixing toilets all day (unless you want to, of course). Plumbers work in all kinds of industries. You could find a job designing plumbing systems for new buildings, deciding how to manage, repair, and expand city/building water systems, or developing new plumbing technologies. Where there’s water and people, there’s a need for plumbing. The opportunities are almost endless.
After sending through my CV, the HR department arranged for my enrolment into Canterbury College and I started work on site initially with my father, and am now learning with the other engineers.
As part of my apprenticeship I am studying for an NVQ level 2 and then onto level 3 in plumbing. This is over a 3-year period and I go to college 1 day per week.
I admire the people I work alongside and because of them I am learning all the time. The people at this company are a pleasure to work with and make it enjoyable to come to work. My co-workers and managers are sociable, knowledgeable and caring – as a team we all work hard and are recognized for doing so.
I also love having the freedom to experiment and fail, and to have BJF still support my actions. Even as an apprentice I have been asked for an opinion on a regular basis, and am allowed to speak my mind without fear. This really helps to build my confidence because I have the freedom to think outside the box and have all of my thoughts considered. This means that I am able to use the skills and knowledge that I already have as well as pushing myself in areas that I am unsure of.
As a BJF apprentice there is so much variety. Every day is different and I get to interact with a range of different people.
I am hoping to continue my career in plumbing with BJF as I see this as a long-term career within the company.
A new apprentice straight out of school is definitely going to have questions and that’s okay! Your colleagues will respect you for speaking up and making the effort to understand the job properly.
Don’t ever feel daft about asking for help when you need it: your colleagues won’t expect you to know everything straight away, and you are there to learn all you can about the sector and the company in order to do your job.
If you run into problems, make sure you clear up how to solve them with someone promptly – you’ll have a certain degree of responsibility as an apprentice and should make sure that you take this seriously.
Enthusiasm for a job doesn’t go unnoticed, and when you’re starting out as a new apprentice it’s vital. A positive approach to anything you’re asked to do will help people to remember you which will lead to your involvement with more exciting new projects later on.
Life as a new apprentice is a big challenge and there will be a lot to learn, but there will be lots of people along the way to make you feel welcome. It is very satisfying to have responsibility in a big company so early on and it’s a great starting point for your career, so get stuck in!
And remember, you can always ask for help!