What’s it like to take an electrical apprenticeship? Lewis Cameron discusses his apprenticeship at Clarkson Evans.
On becoming an apprentice
Before my apprenticeship, I went to college to do an access course to enable me to go to university. After I finished my course I went travelling and it was during this time that I decided university wasn’t for me.
Apprenticeships have always sparked my interest. I like the thought of being paid to learn and work at the same time, rather than take out a student loan for university. Choosing an apprenticeship means I get a vocation with long-term prospects.
I decided to pursue a career in the electrical industry because the trade requires you to use your head as well as your hands. I’m now two years into my Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment, which consists of theory and practical training. I spend four days a week on new build housing sites working under the supervision of my team leader, and one day a week learning the theoretical side of the trade in Clarkson Evans’s in-house training centre.
On advice from schools
I had the potential to go to university, but I wasn’t sure if it was right for me. When I was at school I was given the opportunity to hear from an apprenticeship organisation who talked about the advantages as opposed to going to university. I think this information was vital to helping me realise there are other ways of building a long-term successful career without a university degree.
On the benefits for young people
Don’t view an apprenticeship as a lower alternative to going to university, as an apprenticeship can open just as many doors as a university degree. In fact, I work alongside graduates who are now apprentices after deciding to retrain as an electrician after realising their earning potential will be much higher once qualified.
You don’t have to make any definite choices at a young age, you can always change careers later in life if there’s something you’d rather do. Do what makes you happy and never close the door on an opportunity.
I have learnt many skills during my apprenticeship, not only on-the-job practical skills but life skills too, such as communication and team work. An apprenticeship helps you to learn on-the-job and not just from a book.
I really appreciate the confidence my apprenticeship has given me. There’s no better feeling than learning something, putting it into practice and getting it right. When I first started I didn’t know anything and now I can confidently wire a house.