In honour of National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we wanted to shine a spotlight on two valued members of Woodward Group – Tom Debar and Brook Watts – who began their careers with us as apprentices and are now fully qualified electricians. We interviewed them both to find out what it’s really like to be an apprentice at Woodward Group.
What apprenticeship did you undertake at Woodward Group and when did you start?
Tom: I completed the Level 3 electrotechnical qualification, designed for those wishing to gain an apprenticeship within the electrical industry. The qualification allowed me to develop the skills and knowledge needed to install and maintain electrotechnical systems. I started my apprenticeship in September 2017.
Brook: I undertook the Level 3 electrical installation apprenticeship with Woodward Group, where I learned how to install, maintain and repair electrical systems in industrial, commercial and domestic environments. I began my apprenticeship in January 2018.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Tom: A typical day at work involves me driving to the site of wherever I’m working, taking a look at the job itself and determining how best to approach it, creating materials lists if they haven’t been ordered already, and then getting on with completing the job in hand. My working day is usually around 07:00-17:00.
Brook: As I am part of the small works team, a typical working day for me involves moving from job to job and conducting minor to large works, such as DB swap overs, lighting installations, testing, fault finding, and call outs.
What was the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship?
Tom: The most rewarding part of my apprenticeship was receiving my Installation Electrician ECS gold card at the end – proof of all the hard work that had gone into my training. The ECS gold card is for Level 3 competency based (NVQ) skilled individuals who can work unsupervised on the installation, commissioning and maintenance of low voltage electrical and electronic equipment and appliances in an electrical installation.
Brook: Completing my NVQ and gaining my ECS gold card was also the highlight for me. The gold card is proof that I have completed a formal, industry regulated, competency-based qualification, which includes technical theory as well as practical assessments.
Did you overcome any challenges during your apprenticeship?
Tom: With so many different types of work included in the job, every day can offer a new challenge. My attitude is to always take every day as it comes, and to handle any challenges calmly and methodically, knowing I can also always ask for advice from the team if needed.
Brook: For me, I would say that completing my Maths and English studies at college was a challenging part of my apprenticeship, but it is something I feel really proud to have achieved.
Has there been a particular project you’ve enjoyed working on?
Tom: I really enjoyed working on the Countryside Properties project throughout 2021. Woodward Group provided Countryside Properties with its new production facility, which will be the flagship UK HQ for timber frame buildings. It was also my first job as an electrician, and with it being such a big job, I feel I gained lots of valuable experience.
Brook: A particular project that I enjoyed working on was Brio Living, based in the Cotswolds. It was during this project that I gained all the proof for my apprenticeship logbook, and developed a wide variety of new, useful skills.
What are your career ambitions for the future?
Tom: My career ambition has always been to supervise jobs, as this is something I feel passionately about. As a supervisor, you oversee all aspects of a project from start to finish, which is something I believe will suit me well as I progress in my career.
Brook: My career ambition for the future is to become an approved electrician, providing electrical installation works for a wide variety of clients.
Who do you look up to as a role model?
Tom: I look up to my father as a role model. He is also an electrician himself and has always been very successful in everything he does.
Brook: My biggest role model is my oldest brother, who served three tours in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.
National Apprenticeship Week 2022: join our team
Tom and Brook are two great success stories that demonstrate Woodward Group’s passion for training the next generation of electrical professionals. As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we’re looking for our next apprentice to join our team.