National Apprenticeship Week 2022 – Welcome Isaac!
9 Feb 2022 Luke Smith
In 2010, two weeks after the firm that I had been working for as a plumbing & heating engineer sadly folded, I started ACLJ Plumbing and Heating.
Since then, it has just been me, and there have upside and downsides to that. The upsides being only having myself to worry about, no one to judge me for my messy van cab (!) or to have to put up with me playing Iron Maiden at top volume! The downsides? Lugging heavy gear back and forward from the van and up and down stairs by myself (baths, shower screens and plasterboard sheets can be challenging!) no one to bounce ideas off or chat to, no one to help me clear up and load everything back in the van after a long day, and the annual ‘Christmas Party’ on my own in the van in Starbucks car park can be a bit lonely!
I have been considering hiring an apprentice for a few years, and when I hit my 10-year milestone in 2020 I started to research it properly and made it a goal. I learned my trade on the job and I have recently found myself reflecting on that that time and the great group of engineers who took me under their wings and steered me in the right direction when I was just learning myself. I didn’t necessarily realise it at the time (they did take the p*ss quite a bit and liked a prank!) but I was so fortunate to have been mentored by such knowledgeable and hardworking people, many of whom I am lucky enough to still have in my life now. I really wanted to pay that forward and help a young person starting out in the trade.
In December last year, with the help of the fantastic organisation Apprenticeships Suffolk, I was lucky enough to meet seven young people who were currently working hard to earn their plumbing / plumbing & heating qualifications at college. I was completely blown away by the hard work and determination that they demonstrated, especially in the uncertain times that we have all found ourselves in over the past two years. I saw a lot of myself in them and it is not an exaggeration to say that deciding which one to offer an apprenticeship to was one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make in my life!
This week is National Apprenticeship Week. I am really excited to introduce Isaac, who is ACLJ’s new apprentice and has been working with me since 17th January. Isaac already has his Level 2 Plumbing & Heating qualification and is studying for his Level 3 one day a week while working for us. Isaac has a great attitude, has thrown himself straight in to the job and is already proving to be a great asset to the business. I hope that you will all join me in giving Isaac a very warm welcome to the team!