At the age of 16, Joel Collins had worked hard at school and as a result, he secured a number of Sixth Form places. However, Joel felt he wanted a more targeted learning approach and more freedom. It was at this point that Joel explored the idea of gaining skills while also working and getting paid to develop them. This is when Joel discovered the benefits of doing an apprenticeship. He felt that by doing an apprenticeship it would help him gain independence and life skills, as well as knowledge for the job – exactly what he wanted.
Throughout his electrical apprenticeship, Joel worked with the same person who taught him so much and helped guide him through the course – they quickly became very good friends. Joel really enjoyed working with his mentor and friend and says he “will be forever grateful for the time and effort he put in”.
Speaking about the most interesting job he has worked on to date, Joel said: “I did a large-scale hospital refurbishment and mains infrastructure work for large scale demolition works. This project was over a couple of years as I was just finishing my apprenticeship. I ran a portion of the job and managed a group of people. It was a huge challenge, but a massive learning curve and it has helped me no end in my career.”
Having successfully completed his apprenticeship, Joel is now an electrical design engineer for a building services consultancy. He works in an office environment producing designs, drawings and tender packs for every manner of building. Joel also undertakes condition surveys and produces feasibility and budget schemes for clients before work takes place. He then manages the jobs on site once a contractor has been appointed to assist technically and manage the level of quality of their work.
We asked Joel what advice he would give to school leavers who might be uncertain about taking an apprenticeship and he said: “I would say the biggest thing is to find a reputable good-sized employer that is going to look after you and give you career progression. I was very lucky with my employer and although I have moved career, I stay in contact with them and am hugely grateful for the opportunity they gave me.
“The other thing to strongly consider is your work ethic as it is a completely different environment to school. You will get whatever you put in. But if you do work hard the sky really is the limit. I am now undertaking a degree to further my knowledge even more but have been earning the whole time.”
Watch our video with Joel below: