Elliot Humphreys, Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer/Assessor, is an inspirational tutor and a valued member of the Warrington & Vale Royal College community. Elliot actually completed his own apprenticeship at the college, before gaining industry experience in the field and then returning to the college to teach. Elliot describes his professional background and shares his advice for aspiring apprentices in this exclusive interview.
Can you describe your professional and industry background?
As an apprentice I worked for a company who specialised in listed building restoration and heritage work. We completed work for The Prince’s Trust and also worked on churches, cathedrals and town halls all over the north of the country. We specialised in work that not many site carpenters have had much experience in which has set me up for the rest of my career in carpentry. I attended the college (then known as Warrington Collegiate) as an apprentice, attending on day release. When I finished my apprenticeship, I became self-employed and subcontracted to smaller building companies, whilst working for clients of my own completing all aspects of carpentry work. I now work for Warrington and Vale Royal College after a position to teach my trade opened up and my old college tutors put me forward for the job.
What was your own experience as an apprentice like?
My own experience of being an apprentice was brilliant. Getting hands on in the trade I always wanted to do was amazing and very rewarding. I liked how I could see my own skills progress, from having little confidence or practical ability, to being given tasks to do on my own independently for customers. Whilst attending college on day release I was taught by experienced tutors who taught me a lot of what I now know now. I also made good friends with those on my course and I have also worked with them out in industry.
What does your job role at Warrington & Vale Royal College involve?
As a Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer/Assessor my job role consists of teaching all site Carpentry apprentices in college as well as assessing their practical ability and knowledge development out in the workplace. On site I will meet with apprentices and employers to complete site observations and learner reviews.
What do you enjoy most about working at the college?
Meeting new employers whilst creating and developing long lasting, healthy relationships, to ensure that apprentices get the best learning experience possible. I also like to develop my methods of teaching to ensure my lessons and resources as engaging and inspiring for my learners as possible.
What does an average week look like for an apprentice at the college?
An average week for an apprentice will predominantly consist of working with their employer in the workplace. They will, however, come to college one day a week to be taught Site Carpentry. Every apprentice has to do 20% off the job training and their day in collage will contribute to this. A day in college usually consists of both practical and theory so learners are able to demonstrate their practical skills whilst learning the deeper knowledge of their industry.
What kind of student is best suited to doing an apprenticeship?
An apprentice in site carpentry shouldn’t be shy of hard work or getting covered in dirt. They should be willing to put 100% effort into their work and enjoy getting hands on practically. Good grades in Maths and English are crucial as it is an important aspect of our trade.
What advice would you give to a student looking for an apprenticeship?
The advice I would give is to always try your best and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As an apprentice you are on site and in college to learn and are not expected to achieve perfect results from day one, the important part is recognising you have made a mistake and then being able to learn from it and progress. When making a decision about the apprenticeship you are going to do, make sure it is something you are interested in and enjoy doing.
How can apprentices make a good impression on their employers?
An apprentice can make a good impression by being punctual, hardworking, willing to learn and reliable.
Do you think doing an apprenticeship boosts career prospects?
Apprenticeships definitely boost career prospects. After becoming a fully qualified carpenter there are a multitude of career routes to go down. For example, you could own your own business, work for a building company or progress onto higher education and building site management.
If you enjoyed Elliot’s story and think you have what it takes to become an apprentice, why not speak to our dedicated apprenticeship team for more information? You can contact them now at firstname.lastname@example.org