Staff spotlight: Alex and Lewis, apprenticeship graduates at BGES Group
At BGES, we’re committed to tackling the engineering industry skills gap and championing the next generation of great engineers.
So, it will be no surprise to hear that we currently have four apprentices on the team, ably supported by long serving and experienced engineers and managers.
It’s wonderful to see individuals develop and grow with the business. Two of our engineers, Alex and Lewis, recently celebrated completing their level 3 electrical installation apprenticeship with distinction (both achieving 96%!) and are now fully qualified electrical engineers. We caught up with them to hear about their journey so far.
How did you both get into electrical engineering?
Alex: I didn’t know what I wanted to do on leaving school, and I initially pursued other career options. But I’ve always had an interest in electricals, so three years later decided that I would look seriously into this route. I applied for an apprenticeship at BGES Group, had an interview and secured a position. I am so pleased I made the decision and haven’t looked back since.
Lewis: When the time came to consider career options at school, the 2008 financial crash had just hit and we were advised not to go into construction! So, I initially went down the university route studying history and psychology, and also did a short stint in the military. But I found it wasn’t for me, and I’d always known I wanted a “hands on” role. My stepfather is an electrician – and this was something that appealed to me. I initially started an electrical apprenticeship at another company, then I heard that BGES Group was looking for people, and I managed to secure a position here to continue my apprenticeship.
What does the apprenticeship course involve?
Alex: We both studied for a Level 3 Electrotechnical qualification – it’s a 4-year course. Most of it is spent “on the job” with your employer, but you also spend time at college. In my case I did four 2-week stints at college; the rest of the time was with BGES. You do theory and practical exams too. BGES have been great, you get involved from day one and you’re not just making cups of tea! I started in the workshop, building control panels – then early on I was given the opportunity to go to site and do the installations. As with all apprenticeships at BGES group I was assigned a “mate”, Rich, who was great – but I’ve worked with others too.
Lewis: My weeks were split between four days at BGES and one day at college. The tutors at Doncaster College were excellent. I already had workshop experience when I joined BGES group, so I started working onsite straight away on the Rotherham Interchange project. During the final year of the apprenticeship, you work full time at BGES Group and build up a portfolio of work for assessment.
What do you like about working here and the apprenticeship route?
Lewis: We are a great team – and we all genuinely get on so well – that can be rare in a typical workplace! The management team talk openly about progression and encourage people to reach their potential. And with the apprenticeship, you are learning and progressing from day one.
Alex: I agree, I really enjoy the job and we work with a good group of people, so it’s a pleasure to come to work. The training has been great – from day one you are learning key skills.
What project are you working on now, and what’s to come?
Lewis: We’re both currently working on Keadby 2 power station, it’s a big, complex project and the kind of thing you dream about as an apprentice. At this stage in my career I’m focused on getting more experience in installations.
Alex: I’m keen to continue building on my installation experience too. I’d be interested in learning more about commissioning [the post-installation process] once I’ve got more experience under my belt.
Do you have any advice for school leavers or people considering an electrical apprenticeship?
Alex: Personally, I’m pleased I came to it slightly later in life instead of straight after college. It made me appreciate the apprenticeship more and made me realise that this is what I want to do.
Lewis: It’s the same for me – I tried a few things on leaving school but I wasn’t prepared to settle for something I didn’t enjoy. It can be daunting changing direction, but it’s so important to find something that you really want to do.