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The Leeds electrical contractor turning bad starts into head starts

Posted in News on Mar 05, 2018

Choosing to become an apprentice is a big step for many young people and critical to their success is the support and guidance provided by their employer. After leaving school Craig went straight into his first apprenticeship, but he quickly found the office administration role wasn’t everything he’d hoped it would be.

“When I went in to my first apprenticeship I was ready and keen to learn and looked forward to growing and building my own skillset, but from an early stage it was clear that the support from the employer just wasn’t there. I felt like I was expected to know everything already, it just wasn’t a good place to be.”

But Craig was determined to stick it out and stayed at his apprenticeship for almost eight months before eventually returning to his provider. However, the experience had taken its toll and Craig’s confidence had taken a significant knock.

Many young people would have given up after such a negative experience but, with support from his apprenticeship provider, he decided to give an apprenticeship one more try. The timing turned out to be fortuitous.

Championing apprenticeships in Leeds

Commercial electrical contractors, BCS Electrics, has a strong heritage in promoting and championing apprenticeships and with a former apprentice at the helm of the company it seemed like the perfect chance for Craig to start again and experience the benefits and opportunities of a great apprenticeship.

Under the guidance and encouragement of financial director, Tony Barnett, Craig resumed his administration apprenticeship covering everything from invoicing to timesheets to stock ordering.

Tony said: “When Craig first came to us, he was struggling with confidence as a direct result of his treatment during the first apprenticeship. But it was clear he had a great attitude and interest in learning. As a business owner, it’s important I recognised that and put the right support in place to steer him towards successfully completing his apprenticeship and making further opportunities available to him.”

The extra effort paid off and not only has Craig since completed his apprenticeship, he’s now studying for his AAT Level 2 and is working directly under Tony, assisting him with the running the financial side of BCS Electrics. Craig’s progress and skill has directly led to smoother financial operation and eased Tony’s workload.

For Tony, the chance to pass on his knowledge and see a young person progress the way Craig has is an experience more businesses should embrace: “A good apprenticeship takes work from both sides, and it has to be viewed as a long term connection. We’ve been able to take a someone lacking in confidence and wondering about his career path and give him shape and purpose to his working life. That’s a great thing to be able to say.”

Craig echoes Tony’s positivity: “It might sound like a bit of a cliché but I do feel like part of a family here. Tony and the team at BCS Electrics have encouraged me to build on my apprenticeship and continue my professional development. If you’d have told me after that first apprentice experience I would be where I am now and looking to help Tony train the next wave of BCS apprentices I would have said you’re having a laugh.”

Read next: Pushing back against the stigma of apprenticeships