With National Apprentice week just around the corner, we caught up with H+H Apprentice Jos Smith-Andrews to see how he is faring as an electrical engineer in training.
What made you choose to do an apprenticeship over going to university?
I just didn’t think that university was for me. Right the way through school you are told that you should go to university and that it’s the only way to get a decent career, I didn’t view it as the right environment for me. By choosing to do an apprenticeship, I am learning a trade and securing myself a decent career for the future without putting myself in a huge amount of debt.
What career are you aiming for at the end of this?
When I finish my apprenticeship, I will be a qualified electrical engineer. After that there are a number of avenues I could take, I would like to continue working for H+H in their factory – the people are really nice and it has a great working atmosphere.
Describe an average week …
At the moment I am at college full time, in June I will move over to working at the H+H factory for four days with just one at college.
In an average week I do a couple days of training, for example I'll learn how to wire up a control panel and use cable schedules etc. and at the end of the week we do an assessment on what we've learned to show that we have taken it all in.
How are you finding the course?
Brilliant, I really enjoy it. It feels more like I have a job than going to school. The apprenticeship is a much more hands on approach to learning which I prefer. You are given the opportunity to put what you learn into practice straight away which means that you are much less likely to forget it.
Are there a lot of apprentices or is it just you?
It’s just me at the moment. There was an apprentice before me but he completed his training and is now working as a full time electrical engineer at H+H.
Was an apprenticeship something that was discussed at school/college as an alternative to Uni?
It wasn’t really discussed to be honest; it was just assumed that you would go to University. I don’t know if that’s just because I went to a grammar school or if it’s the same everywhere. The style of learning that you are given in both school and uni isn’t for everyone and people don’t always do well in that environment. Most of my friends went into apprenticeships in building, plumbing etc. and they are really enjoying it.
How long until you qualify?
The course is for four years, one of which is spent in college and the rest will be in the factory with just one day a week learning the theory side of things at college.