Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular career option, allowing young people to earn and learn at the same time while gaining a good grounding in their chosen industry.

The UK Government is also pushing to get more young people into apprenticeships, as the country is facing a big skills shortage for trades such as plumbing, building and electrical work.

With this in mind, the Government has set targets of introducing three million new apprenticeships by 2020** to bridge the gap and safeguard industries.

Jake Horscroft

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), Jake Horscroft, who has recently completed an apprenticeship with Landmarc Support Services and is now a fully trained electrician, discusses why ‘on the job’ training has worked for him.

What made you decide to undertake an apprenticeship with Landmarc?

“I had always wanted to be an electrician so when I saw the advert for a Landmarc apprenticeship I was keen to apply, as I thought the company would be able to offer me a broad range of experience. It looked like a great opportunity for me, so I was delighted to be successful in my application.”

How long did it take you to complete your training?

“I started the apprenticeship in September 2012, expecting to take around four years to complete.

“There is a three-year college course and then the skills logbook has to be completed. I actually finished ahead of schedule in three years and four months. There have been a few exams that I’ve had to sit as part of my qualification, which haven’t been easy but have helped to keep me focused.”

What has day-to-day life been like undertaking an apprenticeship?

“My day is quite demanding at times; learning new things and demonstrating my competence both at work and in the college environment, but I can honestly say it’s been fun and I work with a great team who have helped support me in my development. I’ve been based at West Tofts Camp near Thetford but have worked at all camps within the East region, as well as working with sub-contractors on some of their sites which has been a great experience.”

Would you recommend Landmarc apprenticeships?

“Definitely, there’s been a lot of hard work but I’ve enjoyed it and it’s gone really quick. Best of all, I can now say I’m an electrician – I’ve got a trade and a skill, which is really important to me.

“I’ve been qualified for six weeks now and getting used to working on my own, but I know there’s always someone around to help me out if I need help.”

Shaun Porter, support and planning manager at Landmarc has mentored Jake throughout his apprenticeship.

What made Jake perfect for an apprenticeship?

“I saw potential in Jake as soon as he joined the team here at Landmarc. It was noticeable at interview that he was level-headed with a positive attitude. Jake demonstrated genuine enthusiasm and communicated very well.”

How has he developed throughout the apprenticeship?

“Due to his genuine interest and hard work, Jake completed his advanced apprenticeship ahead of the anticipated date and we were delighted that he accepted our offer to fill a vacant permanent electrician role. Throughout his apprenticeship Jake remained keen and able to learn: always willing to help others, Jake has developed additional useful skills outside of his electrical bias making him an increasingly valuable asset to Landmarc.”

Are you looking forward to having him as an official member of the team?

“Jake commenced work with us as a fully-fledged electrician on 4th January – the day before his 21st birthday: he is continuing to develop as a craftsman and as a great young man. He is always keen to carry out any tasks we put his way and always with a smile on his face: we all look forward to having him working with us for many years.”

Who should consider an apprenticeship, and what skills should they possess?

“Anyone with ambition, a willingness to learn and a good work ethic will get the most out of an apprenticeship. Being a good communicator is important because you have to do a lot of listening and provide a lot of feed-back. There is a lot of hard work and study involved as well as having to sit and pass the obligatory tests and exams so it may not suit everyone: but if the desire is there then my advice is go for it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the journey.”