A journey from JTL apprentice to Training Officer

Matthew Payne began his career as a JTL electrotechnical apprentice and then went on to set up his own electrical business after completing his apprenticeship. He has recently joined JTL in the role of a Training Officer at our Norwich centre, supporting learners throughout their qualification journey.

Matthew’s story exemplifies the cycle of learning, gaining experience and giving back that we champion here at JTL. His journey and career growth from the beginning of his apprenticeship through to his new role as Training Officer highlights the lasting impact of his qualification.

A hands-on learner

At 19 years old, Matthew chose to go down the apprenticeship route, playing to his strengths of being a ‘kinetic learner’ and his interest in hands-on work. This decision, influenced by a family member who worked in the electrical field, proved to be a pivotal one.

“The practical approach to learning was definitely something that interested me. I’m also very sociable, so enjoyed that my apprenticeship would allow me to meet and network with different professionals while working on-site.”

Matthew undertook a four-year Electrotechnical and Building Structures apprenticeship, acquiring valuable industry credentials, such as the AM2 assessment and the 16th, 17th and 18th City and Guilds qualifications in wiring regulations.

During his apprenticeship, Matthew worked for multiple employers that were mainly domestically-focused with their area of work.

“I gained lots of support through my final-year qualification assessor, Mark Rudling, who would come and visit me on-site to sign-off any work I was doing towards my apprenticeship.”

Setting up his own business

Following his apprenticeship, Matthew decided to set-up his own electrical company, which he ran for 14 years, allowing him to utilise the skills and expertise he developed during his apprenticeship.

“My business started off being more weighted towards the domestic side of electrics, but actually ended up becoming very commercial, leading me to work with the likes of Highways England on large-scale projects.”

After recognising the benefits that Matthew himself had provided as an apprentice to his employer, he decided to incorporate apprenticeships into his own business model, employing a total of six learners over the 14-year period.

“I wanted apprentices to be a part of my own business and I used JTL where possible as part of the selection process for this. I still speak to some of the apprentices that worked for me as I like hearing what they’re up to and how they are progressing in their careers.”

Returning to JTL as a Training Officer

Personal circumstances led Matthew to go down a new career path, guiding him back to JTL, this time joining in a Training Officer role.

“I was made aware of an opportunity to become a Training Officer at JTL and felt like it was the right next step to take in my career. It proposed a good opportunity for me to apply my previous experience to a different role.”

Matthew’s remarkable performance during his apprenticeship left a lasting impression, leading his former qualification assessor, Mark, who now serves as his manager, to hire him for the role.

“My previous experience provides me with the advantage of being able to effectively bridge the gap between apprentices and employers, bringing a well-rounded perspective to the role.”

Matthew’s diverse experiences as an apprentice, employer, and now Training Officer equip him with a unique understanding and in-depth knowledge of JTL’s apprenticeship qualifications and the wider industry that it operates in.

Guiding the next generation of electricians

Matthew currently supports nearly 60 apprentices, primarily those undertaking the Level 3 Electrotechnical qualification. He finds the role engaging due to the variety of learners he encounters and takes pride in witnessing the rapid progress of first-year apprentices.

Advice for those considering an apprenticeship

For individuals considering apprenticeships, Matthew emphasises the importance of gaining work experience as early on as possible with electrical contractors.

“I’d advise those who are still in school to reach out to local, smaller businesses to secure work experience, as this will give insight into whether that trade is for you.

“I always try to emphasise the importance of focusing on core academic subjects like English and maths and also enhancing your set of functional skills.

“Apprenticeships provide an entry to so many diverse career paths that are available within the electrical industry, but they do require hard work and dedication.”

For apprentices who are currently working towards completing their qualification, Matthew highlights the importance of building a strong portfolio right from the start of the programme as it will help to feed into future career prospects.

Looking ahead to the future

Over the next few years, Matthew aspires to grow to be more like his former assessor, Mark, becoming a trusted source of knowledge for both JTL apprentices and employers.

“I am already thoroughly enjoying my role at JTL and feel that my diverse background allows me to fulfil my responsibilities effectively. I look forward to growing further within the business and helping apprentices to successfully achieve their qualification.”

All three stages of Matthew’s career, as an apprentice, employer and now a Training Officer have allowed him to build a bank of key industry knowledge and experience that can be applied to provide high-quality support for both the apprentices and employers that he works with.

Matthew’s story evidences the foundational skills that an apprentice can provide, and is a testament to JTL’s commitment to cultivating talent and empowering individuals to build fulfilling careers in their chosen trade.