In an earlier blog about Electrical Apprenticeships, we spoke of ‘The Knowledge Gap’. That is the often gaping hole between what’s covered in college and what is conducted in practice. If not the theory, then the practical application of methodology now, as opposed to the theory when the syllabus was written way back when.
We take Apprenticeships seriously as those who follow our story will know.
As we say on the Home Page – “As Investors in People, we recognise that our ‘people’ are our ‘assets’. Quality comes through training and opportunities through our Apprenticeships. On-the-job learning and upskilling both in the unit and on site, develop not just their electrical skills, but core values such as team working, service ethic and analytical thinking”.
A recent Leadership Team Meeting set out our medium and longer term Apprenticeship Policy. Firstly, to increase the number of both technical and commercial apprentice positions in line with targeted growth benchmarks. And secondly, to implement monthly Apprentice Days.
These are already successful days for our Technical Apprentices under the guidance of Richard Banks. The guys stand down from their normal busy days to gather at the unit for a schedule of tasks and challenges set for the day.
In his own words Rich said: “The idea is to give the apprentices some one-to-one, hands-on tutoring, be it techy stuff or manual grafting.”
One of the Apprentice Days’ challenges was to install some sockets in the stores area above a bench, along with a wall mounted laptop bracket. It was a practical and necessary task to assist stock taking.
As with any job, planning is key – ’fail to plan, plan to fail’. So, Rich initiated a discussion to see what they felt about the job and how to approach it. Even a small job has so many things that can go wrong so take nothing for granted and set about planning each with the same detail and urgency.
- What is required? (client led info)
- What materials are required?
- What tooling is required?
- How will we conduct the installation?
(Rich again) We decided to install a section of 3 compartment dado trunking above the existing bench, which we would install 3 x double sockets. Now this may not seem much of a job, but trust me, if you haven’t worked with 3 compartment trunking, it can be interesting to say the least.
A common theme was developing as much time was taken just measuring and cutting. This still seems to be alien to the lads – mastering a tape measure must have changed over the years!
Lunch, as anywhere, is an important part of the day. Again, small things are so important and should not be taken for granted. Rich tasks the guys to agree what’s required, prepare the order, and place it for delivery at 1.00. ‘Teamwork for the tum’.
The Q&As over lunch are a crucial part of the day. The general banter ‘on the job’ is turned to more focused discussion about college, home life, sport (teamwork) and wellbeing.
Mental Health & Wellbeing in the workplace are issues we take seriously, so encouraging our youngsters to get used to talking and listening to others is a covert part of a bigger picture.
Back to Work
(Back to you Rich) It was good practice to have the bench mitre saw set up, highlighting the importance of correct PPE.
We also spent some good time on cable selection, showing how we select cable size, installation methods and so on – a great introduction to the tables in our bible BS 7671.
By the end of the day, we had a laptop bracket & trunking on the wall, sockets installed and working What’s more, all fingers intact having let them loose on the 110V mitre saw after further H&S considerations were discussed and implemented as always.
Each Apprentice Day builds further confidence, both for their relationship with each other and their general interaction with management. Sure, we all work together on the shop floor – out on the job, but when you move the scenario to a more formal situation, we all react, learn and interact differently.
This is a great exercise, and continues to be for all involved.