This month we caught up with Thomas Turner, one of the eight UK finalists for the World Skills SkillELECTRIC competition that took place during 14th – 16th November. As a JTL electrical installation apprentice, Thomas has been honing his skills and developing his expertise in the field. In this case study, we discuss his apprenticeship journey reflecting on the competition and what he hopes to achieve in the future.
Thomas is aged 21, based in Swadlincote and is currently completing the fourth year of his electrical apprenticeship with JTL through his employer, E J Parker Technical Services, in Burton-On-Trent.
Thomas began his apprenticeship after finishing school and was placed with the mechanical and electrical services company, E J Parker Technical Services. When asked why he started the apprenticeship, Thomas says: “At the point of applying for my apprenticeship I knew I no longer wanted to exclusively study in a classroom, so I felt an apprenticeship would be my best option.”
When asked why this apprenticeship appealed to him, Thomas adds: “I chose the Electrical Installation Apprenticeship as I’ve grown up around people who work in the electrical trade and I wanted to understand more about how electricity works and is used in daily life.”
During the apprenticeship, Thomas embraces the practical nature of on-site learning, he states: “One of the highlights of my apprenticeship is seeing things come together on-site. In my role, I often enter a development at the stage where it’s barren and fully stripped out, after a few weeks of hard work I get to step back and see the progress that’s been made, leaving a site where everything looks far more complete. Also, by working across several projects I have been able to apply the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the apprenticeship to a variety of environments.”
Despite his interest in on-site work, he also notes that it’s not without its challenges; “You never know what you’re walking into, especially in some of the environments we operate in, such as hospitals. Although we enter with a detailed plan of action, unexpected situations often arise, so we need to adapt while causing minimal disturbance.”
Thomas plans to continue working with his employer, E J Parker Technical Services, after completing his apprenticeship. He also hopes to mentor an apprentice in the future.
“I have a strong desire to share the knowledge and experience I have gained by taking on my own apprentice. It is important for me to find someone who I can connect with and who demonstrates a genuine interest in the work. The people I work with have been incredibly supportive and I would want to provide the same level of support to any future apprentice I employ.”
When asked what advice he would give to school leavers who are thinking about taking on an apprenticeship, he adds: “If you’re interested in an apprenticeship, I would definitely recommend it. You need to be prepared for hard work, but you can grow skills quickly and progress if you’re willing to put the effort in.”
Thomas completed the finals of the SkillELECTRIC competition during 14th – 16th November where he was able to demonstrate the skills built over the competition, he states: “The final was a surreal experience as I hadn’t expected to get this far into the competition, even after the qualifying heat and training day. It was a nice surprise and I felt proud to know my work was among the top candidates.
“In one of my favourite tasks we had to work to a drawing which included several circuit installations. Here I had to complete the installation of spurs, sockets, and lighting on a two-metre wall within a time limit. The wiring of the lighting was by far the most complicated part of the task, but it was all achievable using the techniques I have learnt.”
Summarising his experience at the finals, Tom states: “Stepping back from my installation on the last day of the finals I remember feeling proud of what I had accomplished. It was a great moment for me and I felt like I had done a good job. Looking back, I realise that I gained a lot of new skills and became more confident in my abilities throughout the competition. I feel more prepared to tackle challenges that come up on-site and I know that I can perform tasks correctly. I would love to compete in more competitions in the future if I have the chance to. This was a great learning experience and I feel more equipped to take on whatever challenges come my way.”
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