Doing just one apprenticeship takes an exceptional level of commitment, so discovering someone who’s about to complete his second apprenticeship is a rather rare event. But then, Elliott Webb is a rather rare individual.
Having successfully embarked upon and completed an Architectural Apprenticeship, Elliott was asked by his firm to take up a full-time position in London. “I’m a Birmingham lad and I love my local community in and around Sandwell – so I knew that living and working in London wasn’t for me,” says Elliott. Nor, it seems, was architecture. Being the son of an electrician, he explored the possibility of undertaking an electrical apprenticeship; a decision shaped in part by his interest in the construction industry and in part by the work experience he had gained over the years with his father.
Eventually, after applying to several apprenticeship schemes across the city, he was interviewed by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and subsequently offered an electrical apprenticeship with them. “I immediately liked the company,” says Elliot. “The interview panel did a great job of telling me the story of the organisation and explaining exactly how I could fit into it. Over the two years that I have worked with them, I have managed to see that story play out in front of me and have come to understand how much they told me about the company proved true.”
With a large housing stock containing 325,000 residents across six towns, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council offers a particularly challenging environment for apprentice electricians. But it’s one that Elliott quickly took to. “The induction at the start was really informative and within days I was out and about with experienced electricians and maintenance teams,” says Elliott. “The variety of work was amazing. On any given day we could be inspecting properties, bringing them up to standard, changing sockets and even doing complete rewiring’s. As a result, I learned the basics really fast.”
Elliott is also full of praise about the quality of on-the-job support that he received from his team: “They got the balance right between supervising my work and giving me the freedom and space to work things out on my own,” he says. “Knowing that someone was always on hand to guide me, and that they expected me to ask loads of questions, gave me a lot of confidence.”
This confidence was further boosted by his weekly attendance at college, which equipped him with the theory and knowledge he needed to succeed in his day-to-day work. Described as a “very high achiever” by JTL’s tutor manager, Joel Dalhouse, Elliott’s competence and skill was such that he was even put forward by his employer for SkillELECTRIC, the premier skills competition for the UK’s electrical industry. As Elliott’s JTL training manager, Lloyd Williams, says, “Ask Elliott to do any task and he excels at it; it’s genuinely hard for us to set him anything that he cannot do. When we put him into the SkillELECTRIC competition in his second year, for example, he was happily competing against apprentices in their third or fourth years – and even managed to come in the top five overall.”
Elliott’s skill was further recognised by his recent shortlisting at the annual B.A.M.E Apprentice of the Year award – an accolade reserved for apprentices who are seen to go above and beyond in their commitment and passion for their careers.
Now entering the final year of his electrical apprenticeship, Elliott is typically modest about his recent accomplishments: “I am putting a lot of work into a job that I really enjoy, and people have noticed that, I suppose,” he says. “I think that they also see themselves in me. My own manager started off as an apprentice, and he appreciates that I am always willing to do things and put myself out when necessary.”
Area employment adviser, Michael Wragg, who oversees the placement of construction apprentices within Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, is much more forthright: “Elliott is exactly what we want in an apprentice,” says Michael. “He is reliable, conscientious and wise beyond his years. More than that, he takes real pride in what he does and has both the technical and people skills to adapt to pretty much any situation or challenge. For all these reasons, he is extremely well thought of by customers and colleagues and clearly has the makings of an outstanding future supervisor or manager. It has been a pleasure to watch his progress and I look forward to seeing where he goes from here.”
Watch this space.