Ben Jenkins is a qualified electrician and former JTL apprentice at Chelmsford Electrical Ltd. Ben was grammar school educated and brought up in an environment where university was the perceived route to a career. He went a different way, however. “Over time I got a taste for electronics,” he explains. “I realised I didn’t want to go down the generic path that most of my peers were taking. I wanted something where I could use my head but also my hands and not be confined to an office every day.”
Chelmsford Electrical takes on two JTL apprentices every year and currently has six working through various stages of their four-year course. Like all other apprentices, Ben started in the special projects team, which offers the most diverse workload and allows apprentices to experience a wide range of different tasks. JTL monitors the training that the apprentices receive to ensure that all necessary criteria are being met.
“The support from my JTL training officer has probably been the most beneficial part of the whole thing,” says Ben. “He came every three months and gave me a target to work towards. It means there is a qualified electrician following you, not just ticking boxes but steering you in the right direction and going the extra mile to ensure you are actually becoming a good electrician.”
Operations Director Adrian Rust explains the value JTL brings to the company: “JTL provides a safe learning environment and acts as mentor and mediator between employer and employee, working with local colleges and overseeing training with site visits, and ensuring that the apprentice completes their training elements in a timely manner and passes the relevant units as required. It’s a role not to be underestimated, which takes considerable time and resources which an employer can ill afford. JTL has helped us to achieve a great future for many apprentices. We have used JTL for over 20 years and this has become a team effort by all.”
As for Ben, is he happy with his choice? Having both an inspiring electronics teacher and a close friend in a similar position who successfully took an apprenticeship helped cement his decision. “Just being able to see somebody who had made something of themselves having taken the alternative route gave me the motivation to follow my hunch,” he says. “I saw where other people were going with university and A-levels and the end product wasn’t massively encouraging. So I did my research, spoke to JTL and decided that I was going to go for it. I haven’t looked back since.”