Winning 'Apprentice of the Year'

I joined the electrotechnical industry to gain vocational skills in a technical field where I could apply practical and theoretical science and work on an industrial/commercial scale.
I felt very fortunate to be given the opportunity of an apprenticeship after a successful interview at ECA member-firm Chris Bowker Ltd in 2011. They have fully supported me and have provided me with excellent training and support, alongside JTL and their excellent and encouraging training advisors. I have always felt indebted to them for this opportunity and have pushed myself to achieve and progress.

 I have tried to take on new roles and responsibilities on site as soon as I have gained the appropriate knowledge and understanding to do so. I have also been lucky to form great relationships with over 100 work colleagues and have learned from everyone I have worked with during my apprenticeship.

I gained my level 3 electrical installation qualification through an onsite portfolio and college exams. I have had a chance to work on jobs around the country, living away from home and taking on bigger projects every year - a highlight for me was supporting the project management of a new build hospital. This job covered everything from interpreting drawings, installing distribution panels, ordering materials and managing other colleagues. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last few years and have gained great experience and knowledge from every project I have been involved in. 

The proudest moment of my apprenticeship was passing my 2394 initial verification of electrical installation and 2395 periodic testing and inspection, aged 19, giving me the confidence to apply an extra skill for the last years of my apprenticeship. I was able to use these skills when recently individually testing a £17 million hospital redevelopment in Cheshire.

As a result of my endeavours, I have learned first-hand the value of an apprenticeship. It has:

  • Given me an opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification 
  • Financially supported me earning while I learn
  • Supported me in becoming an essential part of a team and gaining great relationships along the way
  • Given me a platform to progress within an industry, among many other things

I was nominated for the ECA Edmundson Apprentice of the Year Award by my employer and training advisor. Going through the initial interview process, held at the ECA offices in Lymm, to be named the north of England national finalist was an exceptional achievement for me in itself. I was then interviewed in Kensington with the three other national finalists from around the UK. We were interviewed by a judging panel including the ECA’s Head of Specialist Groups Steve Martin and representatives from Edmundson Electrical and Unite the Union. 

The award ceremony, organised by Edmundsons and the ECA in London, following the interview process was a day to remember for me, my employer and my family. Winning the national ECA Edmundson Award has been my greatest achievement. To be recognised and awarded for the success I have had during my apprenticeship is the highest accolade any electrical apprentice could hope to achieve. I have surpassed the expectations I had for my apprenticeship and this has given me great confidence in progressing with my career. The prizes I won included a state of the art tool kit, £1500 prize money and the opportunity to represent the ECA on a study trip with Schneider Electric to Grenoble - an experience I am very much looking forward to.

I am currently studying a HNC in electrical and electronic engineering. I aim to build on my current knowledge and build a more in-depth understanding of principles and design elements. These new skills will support me when undertaking further responsibilities on site and considering design aspects of a build.

The high school I attended, Ripley St Thomas, announced at both its awards and careers evenings that as a past pupil I had gone on to become the ECA Edmundson Apprentice of the Year. This has since inspired present pupils to consider joining an apprenticeship scheme. As an ambassador, I am proud that I am an inspiration to future apprentices and trainees joining the electrical industry. I aim to speak at events across the UK to promote the positive impact and reward my apprenticeship has had.

I look forward to working with the ECA this year and to keeping you updated!