Here at Electrical Apprentice, we like to examine just how influential electrotechnical apprenticeships have been to the successful careers of individuals around the industry. Here, Ian Hunter, Group Commercial Director at the Scolmore Group explains how his electrical apprenticeship led him from being on the tools to working for one of the UK industry’s fastest growing manufacturers.
Ian Hunter, Group Commercial Director, Scolmore
“Becoming an Apprentice Electrician was not my first choice of career when I left school (I wanted to be a policeman but was not tall enough!) but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.
I wouldn’t say that I was the greatest electrician in respect of the practical work but I enjoyed the variation and, in particular, the on-site banter and camaraderie between the trades. What I did come to take a lot more of an interest in was the business side of the company, how it went to market and the service aspect of the operation.
When I moved on from working on-site, I vowed to put my acquired knowledge to good use, firstly working in purchasing with a large local contractor before moving into a sales role with a wholesaler and finally into manufacturing. 24 years on from putting my tools in the garage I am now the Group Commercial Director with a £65M business that specialises in the supply of residential electrical products.
As with my time as an electrician, I do not think that I am the best salesman in the world but I understand the needs of electricians and the importance of quality service. Everything that I learned from doing my apprenticeship, from basic discipline, people skills, technical background and business awareness, has enabled me to have a fantastic career in the same industry that I joined at sixteen.
I watch young people today who seem to accept University has been the only choice in getting on the career ladder. I would advise anybody in that position start by gaining the valuable working experience that comes from getting an apprenticeship.”