Pictured: Katie (far left) with female apprentice and engineer colleagues from Darke & Taylor.
Katie's story was originally posted on the Darke & Taylor website. Read the full post here.
Making a break
Katie Harvey, from Cumnor in Oxford, had always achieved well academically. But it was while studying for her GCSEs that she decided to make a break from full-time education and gain hands-on experience in an exciting profession. “I was studying for my exams and deciding what to do with my future,” she explains. “My school was focused on encouraging people into sixth form, but I didn’t like sitting in a classroom and wanted a change.”
It was after becoming interested in her cousin’s job as an electrician that Katie decided to investigate opportunities as an apprentice in this field. “I’ve always been quite hands on and I like the fact that there’s always an element of risk involved with being an electrician,” Katie explains. “I found out about electrician apprenticeships via the Government website and began to research local employers.
“Darke & Taylor stood out because they offered the chance to work across a wide range of different jobs, and they also had a really strong record of apprentices going on to achieve success, so I knew it was a great opportunity.”
Katie began her four-year course as an apprentice electrician with Darke & Taylor in August 2017. By August 2021, she will have gained a Level 3 NVQ Electrical Qualification and be ready to progress towards becoming a fully qualified electrician. In the first year of her apprenticeship, Katie spends one week every month studying at a local college, with the rest of the time spent working with another electrician on various jobs across the region. “I’ve started my apprenticeship working in technical services, which involves going to lots of different sites to carry out testing, inspection and maintenance work – for example smaller jobs like changing lights. I really enjoy the variety of the work,” Katie says. “As I progress I’ll have the chance to get experience working on different types of projects, including contract work.”
Hopes for the future
Looking ahead, Katie hopes to keep progressing through her apprenticeship and expanding her skillset. “I want to learn and do as much as I can,” she says. “Once I finish my apprenticeship, I’d like to work towards becoming an approved electrician, which will take me another two years and an extra course.” She adds: “Since I’ve started I’ve enjoyed each day of my apprenticeship and I’m really looking forward to the future.”
Find out more about apprenticeships and training through ECA's Education and Skills portal.