JTL Blog

9. Starting work

Sorting paperwork

Before you start your apprenticeship, we’ll visit your employer to make sure their health and safety and other processes are up to scratch. We won’t let them take you on until we’re happy they can support you.

You also have to fill in some paperwork. You need to complete all your start documents so we can get your funding from the Government. Your training officer will help you.

Your employer will also get you to fill in some forms so you’re ready for your first day.

Looking the part

You might start in the office, so your employer can run you through rules and procedures. If so, dress in smart, comfortable clothes. But if you go straight to site, dress for site work (it could be dirty and oily on site).

If you need to wear anything specific, your employer will tell you. They might give you overalls or a uniform. If they do, they’ll give you enough sets so you always have clean, smart ones to hand.

Smart people with good personal hygiene reflect very well on a company.

Special footwear

Trainers and canvas shoes look good – but they’re not safe on site. You need to turn up with protective footwear. Your employer might carry out a risk assessment and give you boots with steel toecaps.

The right tools

You’ll just need basic tools to start. Your employer will tell you which ones. Then, as you do more and get more experience, you can invest in others.

When you do buy tools, go for quality. They’ll last longer and work out cheaper over the years. If you need specialist equipment, your employer will supply it. Though do always think about getting your own. You’ll feel more independent and have the chance to practise when you’re not at work.

Buy a lockable toolbox, too. And think about insuring your tools in case you lose them or someone steals something.

Staying safe

Your employer will be covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It means they’re responsible for:

  • providing and maintaining safe working environments and ways of working
  • training you
  • giving you any specialist clothing and equipment
  • making sure the equipment you use is safe and used properly.

It’s your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that keeps you safe at work. That’s hard hats, safety boots and safety goggles, gloves, ear defenders, aprons, kneepads and overalls. You need to wear PPE at any construction site. Sometimes your supervisor or a colleague will know exactly what you need to wear. Make sure you ask them.

PPE – a lifesaver

Hard hats are very important. Make sure you wear one whenever there’s a risk of banging your head or falling objects.

You need to wear eye protection if you’re:

  • drilling or chiselling masonry surfaces or metal
  • grinding
  • driving nails into masonry
  • using cartridge-operated fixing tools
  • drilling any material above your head

You need to wear ear protection whenever you’re in a noisy area. If you don’t, you could damage your hearing. Permanently.

Wear safety gloves when you’re working with:-

  • sharp objects or surfaces
  • bulky objects that could give you splinters, cuts or bad scratches
  • corrosives and other chemical substances.

When you have to kneel for a long time, or take your weight on your elbows, your employer might give you specialist protection. For some tasks you’ll need to wear a facemask, safety harness or breathing apparatus.

For all this equipment to keep you safe, it needs to be in top condition. If you spot any problems with your PPE, tell your supervisor straightaway.

Don’t take any risks – look after yourself and the people around you.

Getting there

Make sure you know exactly where you’re going, what day you need to be there, and what time you start. Also, check roads or trains before you set off. It’s up to you to get in on time.

If something big comes up and you can’t start when you’re supposed to, speak to your employer as soon as you can. They might be able to arrange a new start date.

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