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Electrician apprenticeships spark success for business!

February 2, 2020

We have previously looked at why you should consider taking on an apprentice.  This week Checkatrade celebrates National Apprenticeship Week 2020 #NAW2020. It is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on how one of our Checkatrade members is supercharging their team with fresh new talent!

As a family-run SME that has been operating for many years now, investing in, and nurturing new talent has been an integral part of our business plan for as long as I can remember. To date, we’ve had the pleasure of hiring and supporting three apprentices here at O’Brien’s Electrical who have not only proved a great success for our business but, personally speaking, it is so rewarding investing in young talented people and seeing them grow into a fully-rounded employee that confidently exerts our company values.

Why hire an apprentice?

My journey within the electrical world started with a small firm apprenticeship. It provided me with not only the qualification I needed but also the confidence and experience to work assertively in the industry. I’ve always wanted to give someone else the same opportunity that was given to me when I started out. Initially, deciding to hire an apprentice was not straightforward as our trainees work directly with myself and my second in command Dan West, so it is a huge commitment and pressure on our time, not to mention a costly investment for the business. They work closely beside us to gain as much knowledge and experience as they possibly can; therefore, patience and time are often needed in abundance. However, the benefits that our team reaps professionally and personally are well worth it.
O'Briens Electrical Apprentice Callum Terry

Flying high O’Brien’s Apprentice Callum Terry

How can apprenticeships help a small business?

Like most firms recruiting and retaining employees is a key priority for us and based on our experience so far, employee loyalty and morale peaks when we’ve invested in staff training and harnessed the talent that is already in abundance within the O’Brien family. It is also costly and unproductive for a small business like ours to cope with a high turnover of staff. Hiring fresh talent has often helped us see things within our business in a different light, providing a new outlook on processes or procedures that we had not considered before – our current apprentice was a great example of the recently when he suggested our social media posts should be more ‘personalised’ so customers can see that the human side of our business rather than just what we can offer professionally. Our recruits soon become the lifeblood of our company, and despite their inexperience, they always bring with them a great work ethic and an excellent willingness to learn.

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Bringing an apprentice into our workplace also enables us to fill gaps if needed. Generally, we like to mould them into our ideal engineer and show them exactly how we want work to be carried out here at O’Brien’s, which also best fits the skills they need to learn to pass their qualification. However, we would also encourage them in trying different roles within the business if they showed specific interest, talent or passion within another area.

I also believe that hiring trainees show that we genuinely care about our staff and are a clear signal that we are willing to invest in the future of our business. On top of inspiring loyalty, taking on local talent helps raises our business profile and reputation within the local area, and I think it speaks volumes as to our commitment to our brand values.

Looking to the future

We are lucky to be running a successful apprenticeship programme for those at the start of their career and look forward to seeing our talent pool (and their long-term career with us) continue to grow. I would urge any firm considering taking on an apprentice to do so without hesitation – it is by far, one of the most effective ways of investing in new talent. Remember though, and it’s not just new talent that is worth investing in…I’m undertaking my own City & Guilds Gas & Plumbing course in the new year to expand our business into a new field. I think that proves that no matter how much experience you have under your belt, you can always add a new string to your bow.

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