22 year old Andy Peters is an electrical apprentice with Smart Tec Electrical Contracting Ltd. Based in Bristol, Andy is in his final year and is on track to complete his Advanced Apprenticeship well ahead of schedule.
Having been one of the industry's brightest sparks since he began his apprenticeship, Andy has been adopted by a leading trade magazine - Professional Electrician - and appears in the magazine on a regular basis as the 'official Professional Electrician apprentice'.
Once Andy has sat and passed his final exam - the AM2 test - he will qualify as a fully-fledged electrician.
“I've always wanted to be an electrician really - at least ever since we started thinking about career options at school. Plus, my Dad is an electrician and runs his own business and it seemed natural to follow in his footsteps. An apprenticeship was an obvious choice for me as it is recognised as the best way to train as an electrician. My Dad did one, as did his business partner, and it comes highly recommended from every electrician I've ever met.
"There are a number of benefits of an apprenticeship. In particular, I really like the fact that I can earn while I learn. Most of my friends who went to do A-levels at school have to work weekends, whereas I work four days a week and then go to college for one day a week. This means I'm gaining valuable work experience, while also working towards a recognised qualification - an NVQ Level in electrotechnical services - and getting paid for it at the same time. I don't know many other people who are paid to learn.
"Probably the most recent highlight has been getting my own van. This has enabled me to work much more independently and means that I can go off to see our customers on my own and without having to wait for lifts. I felt a real sense of achievement when I was given my own van because it means that my employer realises the benefits I bring to the company and that I am trusted to visit our clients and develop relationships with them without constant supervision.
"The level of support I get from JTL is great. I was appointed a Training Officer - Steve - at the start of my apprenticeship and he's been with me the whole way through. It's a real benefit to have someone there to give you ongoing support and I know I can always ring Steve whenever I've got a question or any problems. He completes around four on site assessments of me and my progress during the course of the year, but he always makes regular visits to me and my employer on site and keeps in touch on a frequent basis. Steve himself was an apprenticeship once and is a fully qualified electrician. All Training Officers have to have the right technical qualifications, which is reassuring.
"My training has been quite varied and I’ve enjoyed it all, although I do have my favourite parts of the job. I really enjoy new build projects the most as it's good to see a project go from nothing at all and then see the completely finished article.
"All in all, I'm really pleased with the way my apprenticeship has gone and am really looking forward to qualifying later on this year. I would recommend to anyone to do an apprenticeship, whatever field they are interested in working in. It's worked for me and my line of work, but I believe that the way it's structured would offer a good grounding for any career. You can’t beat work experience and this, coupled with a formal qualification, makes it a winning combination.”