Gentoo has recruited some 250 apprentices over the past several years. One of them is Lynne Dickinson, now a fully-qualified electrician with Gentoo. Her job focusses primarily on green technologies, especially solar energy panels, which Gentoo are actively encouraging landlords and housing providers to install.
Lynne’s four-year apprenticeship training course was organised on a block release basis, spending between 20 and 30 weeks in college for the first two years in two- to three-week blocks. The remainder of her training was completed on site, closely assisted by a mentor. The process culminated in a three-day practical exam, which she passed with flying colours.
Lynne feels she had good support from both her JTL training officer and Gentoo’s training and development department, both of whom have consistently encouraged her to further her career. Her JTL training officer was always available on the phone to address any queries that arose.
For Lynne, her apprenticeship has not only served as the launchpad for her current career in renewable energy, but will also give her the opportunity to travel and work abroad in the future should she wish to.
Having come to electrical engineering via a circuitous route – she qualified as a photographer, then worked in the motor trade before starting her apprenticeship – Lynne hopes to progress to become a project manager and she is now studying towards a HNC in Construction.
As for being a woman in a traditionally male role, Lynne admits that some people do find it surprising but invariably it garners her nothing but respect. Indeed, she actively encourages young girls to consider a career in electrics or any other kind of engineering. “If I was back at school now,” she says, “I would probably have followed an engineering route form the very beginning."