In support of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, running from 8-14 February, we speak to James Churchill, Operations Manager at C-Elect, an electrical contractor that has been employing apprentices for 10 years. Here, James explains why C-Elect employs apprentices and how they ensure they get the best out of them, to the benefit of both the apprentice and the company.
Can you tell us a bit about C-Elect?
C-Elect are a well established electrical contractor with over 25 years’ experience in the industry. We pride ourselves in offering a service which supports industrial, commercial and domestic aspects of the trade. We have invested in our future in order to provide our clients with a professional, efficient and quality service throughout the business.
Why did you start employing apprentices?
To provide opportunities to enthusiastic people who wish to succeed within the trade and meet clients’ needs.
How long have you been employing apprentices for and how many apprentices currently work for you?
We have been employing apprentices for approximately 10 years, we have had between 7 and 10 apprentices work for us and we currently have 3 apprentices employed with us.
What importance do you place on apprenticeships in this industry?
The position of an apprentice within the industry in our opinion is vital to success and quality of installation of a company, providing support to the qualified electricians on a daily basis, allowing them to fulfil the needs of the client and the expectations of the company they work for.
What steps do you take to ensure your apprentices are developing their skills and understanding while working for you?
The apprentices are at all times paired with fully qualified electricians who oversee and provide constant feedback on the works they produce to both the electrical manager and the apprentice themselves and, more importantly, that they understand the theory behind the work that they are completing.
We carry out internal appraisals and give specific recorded jobs using our in house job allocation system to the apprentices to ensure that they are completing installations from start to finish correctly and highlighting any area that may need development and praising quality where needed. We also keep in regular contact with the training officer.
What advice would you give to any businesses considering employing an apprentice?
Ensure that you have the time to spend with the apprentices and that you have a diverse workstream/client base so that the apprentices can use their skills within different aspects of the trade that they are learning at college and on site.
Is there anything you think budding apprentices should know if they’re considering an apprentice in the electrical sector?
We believe that it is imperative apprentices have a full understanding of the job role/trade they are learning and committing themselves to and an understanding of the future opportunities it can give them.