From scanning barcodes, to working on detailed layouts – Archie Lamb is very glad he made the move from supermarket temp to Electrical Design Apprentice. He now works for SJD Electrical, on a good salary and is excited about the future to come. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, read more about Archie’s amazing apprenticeship as he reveals how it all started…

A life-long interest

I’ve had an interest in electronics from a young age. I always thought I wanted to pursue a career in the electrical sector, but that became even clearer after my work experience at General Electric. On the design side, my interest mainly comes from my Dad, who is a graphics designer, so I’ve spent my whole life watching him work!

When I saw the job advertisement from SJD on the Government's website, it seemed to offer a perfect position that involved two of the things I knew I was interested in – electrical work and design. Alongside this, I really liked the idea of doing an apprenticeship – and being able to earn while you work and study. The job offered a good starting salary and the ability to earn a qualification that I will be able to use to further my career.

Excited to get started

When I was told I got the apprenticeship I was so excited. I was glad because I would finally be able to start doing a job that interests me (at the time I was scanning barcodes at Tesco which I didn’t enjoy). On my first day at SJD, I was nervous as I didn’t know what to expect – but that went away very quickly. Everyone was relaxed, welcoming and up for a laugh.

I also knew I enjoyed the work straight away – I started off by doing smaller tasks and some simple design work, and have slowly progressed to take a little more responsibility. I really enjoy working in a professional environment and watching projects develop through the various stages within the company.

My favourite job has to be the design work – I love working on drawings, updating them and creating detailed layouts. Despite working on simple tasks, I still find it interesting and could see myself doing it as a career. I’m learning a lot from everyone doing their different jobs, and finding out more about how a successful business operates.

A well-structured programme

The apprenticeship process so far has been structured well and everyone involved has been helpful and easy to deal with. I have learnt a lot working at SJD, even after being here for such a short time, however I’m still yet to fully get started with the studying side as have only had an induction at College so far. Although I’ve been thrown into the design work a lot more quickly than expected, this has been a great way to learn and I’ve managed to do everything I’ve been asked to do without much trouble. If I’ve had questions, my colleagues have been quick to help. I’m also helping the estimator and works manager more than I thought, which is giving me a good chance to learn more about the different areas of the business.

Thinking about the future

In the future, I would like to achieve my qualification, become a qualified designer and be able to take on projects for myself. I would also like to progress in the business where possible, and further my electrical career.

My advice would be that if you find something you have a real interest in – and would like to earn while you study and work – then definitely go for an apprenticeship!

SJD Managing Director Ruth Devine says:

"Apprentices have always been integral to the success of our business, although before Archie’s arrival we had only ever recruited apprentice electricians. As SJD is growing rapidly, we started exploring how we can use other apprenticeship standards across all aspects of the business to develop the occupational skills we need whilst maintaining our strong culture. Archie started at the beginning of January and has fitted into the team brilliantly, he’s already extremely productive and we look forward to supporting his learning over the coming years."

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