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By Matty Bouch, 4th year apprentice.
When I originally told my friends and family that I had chosen to do an apprenticeship, my dad was 100% behind it, he thought he was going to get a domestic electrician as a son and that would save him a fortune! But everyone else I spoke to was confused. Many members of my family ran their own businesses, and didn’t really understand what an apprenticeship was, so I’m always happy to talk about it to try to raise awareness. It’s a sound option for so many people, and yet it isn’t as renowned as the university route.
Like many apprentices, I have my own origin story. I started to work ad-hoc for my dad’s property development business when I finished my GCSE’s, and although I was a labourer at that time, I did realise that I was interested in a career that kept me active and was practical – I couldn’t do a job where I was sitting down all day! Initially I pursued a Level 2 sports course at college, but realised this was not going to be particularly useful! I had to be honest with myself, and I realised I wanted a trade. It was from talking to my dad’s builders, who told me to ensure I didn’t remain a labourer all my life, to pick something in construction (as it interested me) and follow that route. I worked with him long enough for him to show me some electrical works and I really liked it, so started to explore that as an option.
Now in my 4th year, I can look back at when I first started it and say that, at first, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I do now. Now, I love it. I remember being very young when I first started, much younger than other apprentices on site, and of course apprentices are paid more the older they are, so I was initially only focused on waiting for the day my wage increased! But it’s all relative - when my girlfriend and friends were at uni they never had money to go out with, whereas I did. I’m often asked whether I’d considered university, and I had considered it, but really more for the lifestyle! I think that’s probably true of many people who go down that route. For me, this has been the best option, I’m always busy, I have a number of career branches to choose from when I qualify, and the days fly by!
I work with a number of Delta apprentices and each of us has our own story about why we chose this route, one is now learning how to program and working on design panels, another came to Delta straight from the army. You must be at least 18 years old to be an apprentice on site so there is a real mix. There are quite a few women on the courses I attend, but not enough, and none have joined us as an apprentice yet – the UK really does need more engineers so hopefully things will change, and apprenticeships will be more accessible to talented people. My competitive nature means that I want to be the first qualified electrician in my college group - I’m competitive even with my own apprentice colleagues at Delta!
The next step for me, post-assessment, is to begin working on site on my own, but I can’t get to that point until the test centres reopen and I’m qualified. COVID has caused major disruption across education and, although I am at least still able to keep working and earning, I can’t complete my apprenticeship until we get the green light. In January we were told it was likely that the assessment centre would reopen in September, and that has changed a number of times over the previous months. I still have to finish my portfolio work, test and qualify - and that is hard without a time limit or deadline to work towards. But when I do, I now realise that there are lots of different career branches available to me, which is very exciting.
Delta Rock will be following up with Matty and several of our apprentices over the coming months, and particularly as we head towards recruiting two new apprentices for a September start. The Delta Rock team is always looking to diversify our talent, so we welcome applications from BAME and/or female candidates in particular, as we know how important this is to the future of Global Britain! Please keep your eye on our social media posts for updates on the scheme.