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Welsh Regional Electrical Apprentice 2019

09 February 2019

Kirsten will join six other regional winners to contest JTL’s National Apprentice of the Year title in London in June.


Kirsten Hopkins from Bargoed has been named regional ‘Electrical Apprentice of the Year’ in Wales by JTL. 

Kirsten’s win, which saw her beat off stiff competition from final year apprentices in the region, was announced at a graduation ceremony held recently at the Revolution Bar in central Cardiff. 

The graduation event brings together JTL’s learners, plus their families and friends, to celebrate their completion of a four-year long building services engineering apprenticeship. The course graduates are all now qualified electricians or plumbers. 

The winning electrical learner from each of JTL’s seven regions will go forward to represent their region at JTL’s National Awards in London in June, when the winner of the JTL National Apprentice of the Year title will be announced. Each of the electrical finalists going to London has excelled both academically and practically throughout their apprenticeship. 

Kirsten attended the Welsh awards with her family and her JTL Training Officer, Sean O’Brien. She is employed by Zener Electrical Services in Cefn Hengoed.

“Kirsten developed well throughout her apprenticeship,” says Sean. “She successfully passed all her exams first time, completed her work portfolio on time and passed her AM2 at the first attempt. In her fourth year she has been running jobs, liaising with various clients and other trades on site, showing huge confidence. My guess would be that with her level of confidence and her attitude and personality she will one day run her own business very successfully.”

Kirsten was delighted to find she had won the regional award: “It’s amazing!” she said. “I knew I had been nominated for the award but didn’t really believe I had a chance. It’s been really rewarding working my way through an apprenticeship and I’ve done it my way, which was the only way that made sense to me, so it’s even more rewarding that others think I maybe did things the right way too!”

Kirsten's employer at Zener Electrical has been hugely impressed with her: “Kirsten has always been meticulous in all the work she does taking notes and making sketches that have been invaluable as projects progress with alterations and queries along the way. She has been a leading Electrician in a large industrial project that we have been undertaking with a customer moving his business from two premises to one. This has included everything from switchgear, all types of containment, full LED lighting upgrade and data installation.

“As a business we got involved on a large IT project for a specialist contractor which included setting up communications devices for 260 apartments in a care village. She exceeded all expectations and did not require any assistance on the project. She was dealing direct with the main client, main building contractor and a number of specialist contractors. Her work has cemented an ongoing relationship with the customer, with a number of new projects planned in the near future. That customer has requested that she is involved on his projects from ‘day one’! 

“It’s fair to say that our business is far more professional directly as a result of her eye for perfection. She is never afraid to speak her mind, even to older personnel if she thinks we can do aspects of a job better. She is great at delegating works to be carried out by other electricians and we are confident she will become a Foreperson as early as the middle of this year. She was responsible for setting up a WhatsApp group for all our engineers which has been priceless for continuity on sites, evidence for reports and a great way of all our team staying in touch 24/7. We’re very proud of how she has progressed.” 

Zener Electrical’s business covers work on the domestic, commercial and industrial fronts. It provides a complete range of maintenance services for domestic, commercial and industrial electrical systems. Its electrical maintenance services are customised to suit customers’ requirements. Their services will reduce the risk of breakdowns and ensure the home or commercial space is safe at all times. Zener offers one-off, contract and regular electrical maintenance services.   

“It’s a tremendous achievement for a learner to be chosen as the number one electrical apprentice in their region,” says Jon Graham, Chief Executive at JTL. “A four-year apprenticeship is a big commitment which involves a great deal of hard work but Kirsten has excelled at every stage and deserves enormous congratulations. I know our team in the region now have their fingers and toes firmly crossed for Kirsten’s success in our national final!”

The award scheme - now in its fourth year in its current format - is run by industry and Government approved training supplier, JTL, the leading provider to the building services engineering sectors in England and Wales. Final year apprentices were nominated for the regional awards by their employer or training officer, put forward on the basis of their outstanding overall performances. Each finalist was assessed against the four key elements that make up the apprenticeship framework - their practical work on site, theoretical knowledge, key skills and industry test scores.

Roughly 32,000 young people (and almost one in two of all electricians) across England and Wales have completed apprenticeships with JTL. The organisation is a not-for-profit training provider and reinvests its resources for the benefit of the industry’s apprentices and their employers.

Left to right: Martyn Rogers, Kirsten Hopkins and Paul McGuire

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