Categories Apprenticeships

ALLL – About the Next Generation

We are getting out and about in Kent to talk opportunities, STEM and Apprenticeships to schools as part of their Career Fairs. This is our first venture of this kind and we have been overwhelmed, not just by the interest schools have shown, but by the heartfelt interest received by the students themselves.

Why do we bother ?

Simple, because these are our next generation of business leaders, politicians, industrialists, decision makers and we want to do everything we can to help them understand even our tiny part of ‘the real world’.

It’s a big step from school to job or further education; from employment to career development; and from management to leadership.

Joe Forsyth (MD, JGF Electrical): “My Grandad was my mentor. He guided me into this incredible world of electronics. He encouraged me to take up an Apprenticeship – and not ‘just to turn up’, but to learn and soak up every ounce of learning that was to become my skill. His was the grounding in me that we hope to instil in others.”

STEM

Back to scholarly basics and the values of STEM as school subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. They are unpleasant basics to some, but essential if you want to throw that switch and watch the machines of British Industry turn.

We asked Isabelle Haigh, former Head of Operations, National Grid and friend of science, technology and the values of women in industry, what she felt about this initiative. She said: “Being the first female engineer in the control room 30 years ago was quite daunting at the time, but I was delighted to be doing a job that I loved, and in a great National Grid environment too.

STEM, STEAM & ALLL

We asked Isabelle about the importance of STEM in schools and, despite her pure Science & Engineering qualifications, she added the ‘A’ in the acronym for Arts.

STEM focuses explicitly on the hard scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical skills to drive progress or create a new concept. In STEAM, students employ both hard and soft skills to solve problems.

Isabelle says: “I would encourage anyone who is curious, likes to solve problems and enjoys the sense of achievement that comes with ‘creating things’, to consider a career in engineering. Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to learn and develop skills needed for a successful career whilst being paid! What a great opportunity that I wish had been available when I was doing my training.”

Apprenticeship opportunities are open to practically all, in all commercial and engineering disciplines. Focusing on the Electrical Industry – think about it … you put your order in to Amazon and it arrives the next day – HOW?

Well, join us and find out but, knowledge and skill are literally only half the battle. A good Apprenticeship will teach you about YOU.

It will develop your personality and channel your human skills into project work, operating and interacting as a team. For some, that’s a massive step, a leap across a scary chasm between school and work.

ALLL

A good Apprenticeship (combining you, your college and your employer) will help you manage those steps and become a better person for doing so.

We have developed our own acronym, which covers those early days of your Apprenticeship out there on the front line – ALLL.

  • Ask – and you will be told.
  • Look – and you will see.
  • Listen – and you will hear.
  • Learn – and you will achieve.

It’s not rocket science – but of course it could be.

The opportunities are enormous, the stars could well be yours.

ALLL – see, hear, achieve.

Categories Apprenticeships

National Apprentice Week

Anyone following JGF Electrical on LinkedIn will have seen us showcasing four brilliant Apprentices – applause – thank you. Now, here they are together. If you know JGF, you will know how highly praised, trained, valued and incorporated our Apprentices are. Whether you are a small business or large and growing, your Apprentices today, make our futures tomorrow.

We began National Apprenticeship Week 2023 by introducing one of our second year apprentices – Harry.
We asked Harry a few questions to see how he is progressing within JGF Electrical. (In his / their own words):

❓ What do you like about working for JGF?
“I like working for JGF as whenever I’m unsure about something I always get the help and assistance needed to progress”

❓What does your apprenticeship mean to you?
“I feel privileged to have an apprenticeship as it is my future”

❓What is your favourite task to perform at work?
“My favourite task is probably changing light fittings as I quite enjoy it, and also being taught new things as it helps expand my knowledge”

❓What is your favourite tool?
“Favourite tool is probably continuity testers”.

For the second day of NAW week we wanted to introduce Harvey who is also a second year apprentice.
We asked Harvey a few questions to see how he is progressing within JGF Electrical.

❓ What do you like about working for JGF?
“I like that the electricians are always trying to make us become better apprentices by showing us little tricks on how to complete a task”

❓What does your apprenticeship mean to you?
“My apprenticeship means a lot to me because I enjoy what I do and I want to be able to become qualified and work my way up in the ranks in the future”

❓What is your favourite task to perform at work?
“My favourite task at work at the moment is any task I haven’t done much of because there’s a lot to learn. I do really enjoy testing and learning about what to look out for when on site”

❓What is your favourite tool?
“My favourite tool is definitely the cable strippers because I discovered it can actually strip 10mm cable making the task so much easier. They save loads of time on site”.

For the third day of NAW week we introduced Daniel (Dan) who is a first year apprentice.
We asked Dan a few questions to see how he is progressing within JGF Electrical.

❓ What do you like about working for JGF?
“The people I work with have lots of enthusiasm and take pride in their work they are great to work with. I also like the variety of jobs we do at JGF”

❓What does your apprenticeship mean to you?
“The apprenticeship means a lot to me. I can work while I learn which is really beneficial to me because Im a hands on person”

❓What is your favourite task to perform at work?
“My favourite task at work is to terminate and dress cables because I like to see how neat and tidy I can get them”

❓What is your favourite tool?
“My favourite tool would be my KNIPEX Ergo strip as where I work we use a lot of flex and this tool makes it so easy to work with.

Last, but by no means least, meet Drew who is a third year apprentice here at JGF.
We asked Drew a few questions to see how he is progressing within the company.

❓ What do you like about working for JGF?
“What I like about JGF The Variety of work I get to do some days we are in a factory the next day in a multi million pound property, and the endless help my supervisors and managers are giving me the whole way throughout my apprenticeship.”

❓What does your apprenticeship mean to you?
“What does my apprenticeship mean to me, to be the best electrician I can be and have a life long career to help other people and my self reach my dreams.”

❓What is your favourite task to perform at work?
“Second fixing, Fuse boards , installing expensive / decorative wiring accessories and Rako Controls Ltd I love getting involved in the intelligent lighting.

❓What is your favourite tool?
“Impact driver”.

Thank you all.

Categories Apprenticeships

JGF Apprentice Days

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.

Apprentice Values

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.

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.

Like this:

  • What is required? (client led info)
  • What materials are required?
  • What tooling is required?
  • How will we conduct the installation?

Hands On

(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.

mastering a tape measure must have changed over the years!

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’.

Dan, Harry, Drew, Harvey (Lunch!)

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.

Confidence

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.

Categories Apprenticeships, Buy-To-Let, Landlord

Section 21 – Scrapped: Implications & Thoughts

Section 21 eviction powers will be removed from landlords. Housing Secretary, Michael Gove, says this will “end the unfair situation where renters can be kicked out of their homes for no reason.”

All homes in the private rental sector will have to meet a minimum standard to be known as the Decent Homes Standard

‘Levelling Up’

The ‘Levelling Up’ White Paper continues to say: “We will consult on introducing a Landlords Register and will set out plans for a crack down on rogue landlords – making sure fines and bans stop repeat offenders leaving renters in terrible conditions.”

The Government says home ownership will be boosted via a new £1.5 billion Levelling Up Home Building Fund being launched. This is intended to provide loans to small and medium sized developers and support the Government’s wider regeneration agenda in areas considered a priority for levelling up. 

The government is also committing to build what it calls “more genuinely affordable social housing.” A new Social Housing Regulation Bill will be introduced following the Grenfell tragedy in 2017.

The ‘80/20 rule’ will be scrapped, with much of the £1.8 billion brownfield funding instead being diverted to transforming brownfield sites in the North and Midlands, with less emphasis on London and the South East.

The Bill as a whole is intended to: “shift government focus and resources to Britain’s forgotten communities throughout the 2020s.”

So, what does this mean for JGF Electrical ?

A heck of a lot !

  • We totally support the need for more affordable, decent, safe housing for the many in desperate need of security in their living space.
  • This includes both rental accommodation and Social Housing.
  • Already working closely with Landlords and Management Agencies in both disciplines, we have developed a service and advisory programme to help maintain properties to the highest standards and refurbish voids quickly and efficiently so the properties are safe and comfortable for the tenants that so desperately need them, and the owners can relax, knowing the work is cost-effectively completed with professional focus.
  • We provide ‘nose-to-tail’ Electrical installation, inspection, correction and compliance, from construction to conversion, upgrades to occupation, and ongoing advice and service management.

What’s more:

The Bill has 12 Missions covering a breadth of National development criteria. One in particular sits at the heart of our own mission withing JGF Electrical and reads:

“6. By 2030, the number of people successfully completing high-quality skills training will have significantly increased in every area of the UK. In England, this will lead to 200,000 more people successfully completing high-quality skills training annually, driven by 80,000 more people completing courses in the lowest skilled areas.”

We are hoping we can use this mindset to build on our existing Apprenticeship Programme and to help other local Trades and the colleges in Kent and beyond to present closer relations for Apprentices, businesses and Britain to benefit long term.

We can’t keep up with BAE Systems who recently announced plans to recruit almost 1,700 apprentices and graduates this year – a record number, but we can, are, and will continue to do our bit.

[See our recent article / blog – The Knowledge Gap – for more on our Apprenticeships agenda.]

Categories Apprenticeships

Electrical Apprenticeships – ‘The Knowledge Gap’

My own career as an Electrical Engineer was set at an early age, as the ‘About Us’ page and the recent ‘Every Business Tells a Story’ blog reveals.

As a youngster, I would have Sunday dinner with my grandparents, Gran was a great cook – amazing roasties! Then, Grandad and I would go down to the garage, which was his workshop. There, he would teach me how to make basic circuit boards. The flashing lights and technical applications became second nature to me, even from this young age.

My own professional career began with a 4-year apprenticeship with Building & Mechanical Services.

For those considering a career as an Electrician, who have not had the inspiration and family guidance as I have, the best way to learn is through an apprenticeship. Apprentices work – and earn – full-time for an electrical contractor, plus, take classroom training one day a week.

Three of the apprentices currently enjoying the start of their careers at JGF are Drew, Harry and Harvey. They are in their 3rd, 2nd and 1st years respectively, working 4 days, and in college 1 day a week.

The Knowledge Gap.

We refer to it as ‘The Knowledge Gap’ because what’s being taught at college seems out of date with the technical and social skills needed ‘on the job’.

It’s something we are trying to work on, feeling the need to work more closely with the college to bring 80’s and 90’s dated syllabuses closer to 21st Century goals. Employers (JGF) are genuinely passionate about creating and supporting Apprentice schemes, partly as payback for their own time served as apprentices, and partly to invest in tomorrow’s skilled workers today.

We have designed 2x Apprentice Training Bays, which the guys are building from scratch themselves. They’re designed to focus new skills such as Smart Home Technology, Energy Efficiency, Health & Safety, as well as the core technical requirements of Electrical Contracting.

We hope that college time will help develop some of these skills as well as some of the basics, such as Maths and Algebra.

Closing ‘the Gap’

Over the last couple of years and for the foreseeable future, their Tutors have been unable to visit the guys on site, or spend time with their Mentors to see what ‘on the job’ really means today.

There’s a lot to learn and develop through an apprenticeship. Some of the ‘hidden skills’ are different to what you might expect, for instance:

  • have good eyesight and can see colours clearly
  • have reasonable maths and algebra skills
  • can grasp, manipulate and assemble small objects
  • don’t mind heights and can work on a ladder or aerial lift
  • are comfortable enough in tight places such as attics or crawl spaces (‘in cupboards’ as Lee says he always is!)
  • can lift and move heavy objects, safely
  • have a mechanical aptitude
  • can work both independently and as part of a team
  • can learn to follow systems and procedures
  • have the social skills to interact with others on contract work

Getting Involved

As well as getting involved across a broad range of technical projects, our apprentices develop not just their electrical skills, but core values such as team working, service ethic and analytical thinking.

3 years down the road, Drew knows and shares the enormous values gained through his apprenticeship with JGF. Harry is already a skilled asset and eager to learn more and more. And as for Harvey – well, early days still my friend, but with the encouragement of your peers, mentors and your Father (when out of those cupboards), you will have a great career in this amazing world of Electrical Contracting.