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George — Level 2 Engineering

What this job has opened my eyes to is that there are endless opportunities for me. There are thousands of things I could possibly do. 

George Farmer — Level 2 Engineering Apprentice — 

We caught up with George who’s approaching the end of his Level 2 engineering course and is keen to move onto his Level 3.

George, who works at Coles Sewing Centre, started his engineering career at sixth form as a BTEC qualification. After spending some time on the course, he felt as though the lack of practical work was holding him back from reaching his full potential. Fortunately, after speaking with the college, George was able to find to Engineering course and work placement that suited him. 

The reason why I didn’t continue with my BTEC and chose to go with an apprenticeship is that I wasn’t getting the practical skills I was looking for. I found that my course was all theory-based when I was looking for something more practical. With this apprenticeship, within the first couple of weeks, I was working on machinery and dealing with a range of tasks that I’ve never experienced. It was a big step up and I’m glad that I did it because I’m learning a lot of skills.

He now works alongside his colleague Lee ensuring that all the machinery that passes through their doors works effectively. Some of his work will take him across the country to assist with machine maintenance at schools. Other times he will need to address advanced repairs – a challenge that George enjoys as it keeps his mind active and adds variety to his workdays. 

I like a challenge and I like to work practically. I knew that my mind would always be kept working on a course like this. I am always dealing with something new. With the repairs, we have run through various techniques to work out why it’s not working properly and then we have to solve it. My colleague’s been here for over 12 years and he’s still encountering things he’s never come across before.

With his current course finishing in May, George has decided that he wants to progress onto a Level 3 qualification and he’s happy he can do it with Coles Sewing Centre. His time in the workplace and his apprenticeship experience has helped him realise that he’s got a secure career ahead of him. 

After my Level 3 I’d like to stay on here because I’m really enjoying it. What this job has opened my eyes to is that there are endless opportunities for me. There are thousands of things I could possibly do.

We asked George what his advice is to other young people who are struggling to decide on their next steps in education. 

You need to do something that you enjoy. So once you finish school, stick with the subjects that you enjoy the most. 

George Farmer — Level 2 Engineering Apprenticeship

George reports to CEO and Managing Director Neil, who has mutual feelings about the apprenticeship.

George has got through the program well. He’s coming towards the end of it now and he finishes in May, and he’s been motivated to stick with it. He’s done his extra 20% without being really pushed by us and he’s gotten on with it. It’s been a pleasant experience.

Neil believes that apprenticeships should benefit the apprentice just as much as the employer. For businesses, apprenticeships can be the easiest way to expand a workforce because of the government funding available. As employers can get to know their apprentices well throughout their course and help shape their development, they make a great long-term asset to any team. 

It’s got to be investment you make in the employee for the future of your business, so it’s good for both them and you. If you want your business to prosper, you’ll need good staff to do that. 

Neil Coles — Coles Sewing Centre

Good, hardworking, likeable staff really help a business thrive. It’s important to keep a hold of valued team members by giving them good progression opportunities and working with them to reach their own personal goals. Neil did this with two existing members of staff by signing them up for our Leadership and Team Skills course through the GRADS for D2N2 project.

We have two staff members who are doing a team leadership course. One of them is coming up to the end of her period of training, then she’s ready to become a team leader within the business. Not only has she had 2 years of useful training, for her and for us, but she’s also going to get a promotion and a salary increase once she moves into her new role.

The future looks bright for both George’s career and Coles Sewing Centre’s business plans. With high praise from his employer, we’re sure that George is going to breeze through his next qualification and go on to be a treasured, permanent member of staff.