I completed a craft electrical apprenticeship at Sterling Organics in Cramlington. My first year was with Tyne North Training Centre at Wallsend and the subsequent 3 years were spent on site with day release to college. I chose the apprenticeship route because I wanted to do something with hands on experience aligned with further education. It suited me rather than staying on at school to do A levels and then go on to university. I was essentially getting paid to learn and by doing so, provided a gradual path into work from schooling. There is also the opportunity to progress to Graduate level if anyone wishes to do so.

For me, the benefits of being an apprentice is that I gained hands on learning by ‘buddying’ a time-served tradesman. This included spells with other departments which gave me a good understanding of their responsibilities enabling me to improve my skills with constant supervision. It also taught me an appreciation of hazardous site working, safe working, permit to work procedures, adult responsibilities and a gradual ownership and responsibility for my work. I now work as a contractor at Fabricom Offshore Services and use these skills more than ever on real life projects. 

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