September is often a time of fresh starts, and many school leavers are now taking the first steps into their future careers. Our newest recruit, Tom Briggs, left school in July to start an apprenticeship with BGES Group, and over the next four years he’ll be working towards becoming a fully qualified electrical engineer.
For anyone considering a career in electrical engineering, here are our thoughts on what’s involved, and why it’s a route worth considering.
The electrical engineering apprenticeship
Our apprentices are working towards a level 3 electrotechnical qualification; a four-year course which gives them the skills and knowledge they need to install, maintain and repair electrical systems in industrial and commercial environments. Most of the time is spent training “on the job” with an employer, but there is also time spent at college for theory and practical study.
We partner with JTL, a leading work-based learning provider in the building services sector, who provide the practical assessment and qualification route for our apprentices.
Greg Steel, Training Officer at JTL says, “The good thing about BGES Group is that their projects are very wide-ranging and cover all sorts of different tasks, skills, types of cabling, controls etc. So, apprentices gain great experience and become very well-rounded.”
For new apprentice Tom, the “on the job” aspect of an apprenticeship is very appealing. “I was keen to start work as soon as I’d finished school, so, I applied to BGES Group just after I’d finished my studies. My dad is an electrician and I have family in the BMS industry – so I already knew it was a good career path with lots of opportunities.”
Like all our apprentices, Tom has started in our workshop, where he is learning to build control panels for building management systems (BMS). After a year or so he will start to go out on site, shadowing a senior electrical engineer, to learn about the installation process. After passing the final assessment in year four, he will become a qualified electrician, and will be given full responsibility for small projects, moving into more complex projects as he gains experience.
Tom is working full time at BGES Group, but also starts his college course this month, where he will be studying in two-week blocks throughout the year. “It’s been really interesting so far – you get stuck in straight away and I have already learned a lot,” he says.
Post-apprenticeship, there is a clear route to progression at BGES Group. We’re committed to nurturing our staff at every stage of their career, and we have an open culture here where potential is recognised, voices are heard, and people are given opportunities to thrive.
So, we find that people tend to stick around! Simon Shaw, Project Director at BGES Group, has been with the company for 23 years, and joined in his first year of university while studying for a software engineering degree. “I started working in our energy and controls centre (eCC) on evenings and weekends and did an industry placement there during my third year. Once I graduated, I started working for BGES Group full time doing project commissioning. I progressed into managing ever more complex projects and taking on budget responsibility.” Simon is now Project Director with overall responsibility for the Projects department, and he co-owns the business after a successful management buyout.
Why electrical engineering?
From our perspective, it’s an exciting time to be working in the building controls industry. Simon says, “The work we do is at the forefront of cutting emissions from buildings – this is crucial if the UK is to meet its net zero target. We’re also delivering solutions that make buildings smarter, and healthier environments in which to work and learn – something that’s become even more important post-Covid-19.”
Greg at JTL stresses the versatility – and employability – of this career path. He says, “I rate electrical engineering very highly as a career choice. There are so many different opportunities, and scope for moving into different fields within the sector.”
Why BGES Group?
Well, we believe our apprenticeship scheme is the best in the business. But don’t just take our word for it – here is the view from Greg at JTL:
“I think BGES Group are one of the best companies to do an apprenticeship with, in terms of the variety of work and support they give their learners. All the recent apprenticeship graduates from BGES Group have been exceptional. They were very impressive and wanted to learn – but it’s also down to the quality of the apprenticeship at BGES, the opportunities given and the support.”
If you’d like to learn more about our apprenticeship scheme or what we do, we’d love to hear from you.