At Elkins we’re passionate about opening doors into the construction industry by providing apprenticeships and other training opportunities for local people. Our apprenticeships have proved extremely successful, with over 95% of apprentices going on to long-term employment at either Elkins or one of our suppliers. For National Apprenticeship Week (from 7th to 11th February) we spoke to Joe Saunders, about how his apprenticeship at Elkins set him on the path to his career as an Electrician.
What made you choose to do an apprenticeship?
I left school at 16; I didn’t really enjoy the academic environment so decided not to continue with further education. I always knew I wanted a job that was hands-on and didn’t involve sitting at a desk all day. My dad also has a background in construction, so you might say it runs in the family!
How did you find out about Elkins?
I actually applied for a job at Elkins straight out of school, but I was told I was too young for the position at the time. I decided to get some further qualifications under my belt, so I started studying Electrical Installation Level 2 at Lambeth College. In the summer break I took on labouring jobs to earn some extra money and gain work experience in the industry.
Then I came across Southwark Council’s Apprenticeship Scheme and decided to go along to one of the open days at their offices in Tooley Street. When I was there, I met the Elkins team, and it wasn’t long after that I started my apprenticeship.
What did your apprenticeship involve?
My Electrical Installation NVQ lasted for three years. I worked in the maintenance department and also did some work for one of Elkins’ sub-contractors to gain further electrical experience. Following the completion of my NVQ, I was pleased to be offered a full-time role.
Tell us about your current role
I’ve been an Electrical QS for around three years. I mostly work in the reactive maintenance side of the business – carrying out routine electrical testing alongside any repairs and follow up work required. I’m responsible for ensuring the safety, technical standard and quality of all electrical work carried out under my supervision. I have an apprentice working with me at the moment, who is training to become a qualified electrician, so it feels like I’ve come full circle!
What’s the best thing about your job?
One of the most rewarding parts of my role is training and supporting apprentices. It’s fantastic to see them learn and develop. Having been in their shoes it’s great to be able to pass on what I’ve learnt.
What do you get up to outside of work?
I’m quite an active person and enjoy being outside in the fresh air. I like socialising and playing golf with my mates and I’m also one of the coaches for Parkfield Panthers Wildcats, a local girls football team.
Find out more about our apprenticeships.