Starting Off As An Apprentice – Part 2

Hello there! A lot has happened since the first instalment of this blog so here is a taste of what’s been going on……….

We finished our 13 weeks of pairing up with our buddies. Each apprentice was assigned an experienced service technician who we would work with for the 13 weeks. My buddy’s name is Stephen Queen.

Stephen himself started off as an apprentice so it would reassuring to know that he has been in the same position as me and he knew what would really help me out to start learning the job. To begin with I was shadowing Stephen to get to know what is actually involved in the job and to get a feel for it. But as the weeks passed by I was growing in confidence and by the time of my last week out with Stephen came I really did feel that I had learned a lot and was a real help to Stephen too. I learned a lot out in the field and also from the other apprentices. At each study day we have we share our ‘nuggets’ of information, things we have seen on the job that we think could help each other. This is a great way of sharing best practice and the chance to talk about anything we aren’t sure about.

After this we completed our two week installation and service training at the Jim Jack training centre in Renfrew. The centre is set up for us all to have a station each to work on and recreate real life scenarios for us to deal with. We were trained by Bobby, Rob and Claire. The first week was install training, this gave us the chance to develop and learn skills in installing our equipment. The practice was really helpful and from the first install we done on the Monday to the final on the Friday we got a lot quicker. On the second week we done our service training. We would create faults at our stations the all swap randomly and have to try and find and fix the fault on the station. This was great practice as it was very realistic. We would be timed as we would be in the field and we gave each other feedback to see how we got on. We also got the chance to ask the trainers any questions we had and they would spend time making sure we were all at the same level and comfortable with what we were doing. At the end we split up into pairs and filmed each other doing a service call on iPads so we could watch it back and see ourselves on the big screen. It must have taken me and Nicky around 50 takes to get a decent video done because I could not stop laughing at talking to someone filming me with an iPad! We got there eventually though.


There was not time to rest as after that weekend we began our mammoth castles to coast charity cycle. The Scottish apprentices and managers met up with our Yorkshire counterparts to begin our cycle from Edinburgh to Newcastle; we were doing this to raise money for Maggie’s, a charity that offers support to people with cancer and their families. We began the cycle on the Monday morning bright and early from the Maggie’s centre in Edinburgh and set off for the toon! The cycle was great fun, we all camped out every night when we stopped along the way and had a great laugh. The cycle ended on the Thursday evening with a lot of tired faces crossing the finish line but everyone done superb to get through the week and raise over £2000 for Maggie’s which is a great charity that helps people with something that affects so many.

Upon my return to the normal working week I undertook some driver training. This was a half day that I spent with a trainer named Ray who observed me driving, gave me feedback and discussed with me anything I was wanting advice with in terms of driving my van. I asked Ray to give me some help with parallel parking, something I have no problem with in my car but struggled a bit in my van. Ray took me to a quiet side street to practice parallel parking which really helped me get to grips with it. The driver training was really useful and got me thinking about things on the road that I didn’t before.

After my driver training I began going out to work on my own. The amount of work we get is staged beginning with a 25% quota of what a regular service technician would have. This will eventually progress to 100%, it’s staged like this to give us the time to learn the job and do it properly building up experience to do the full amount of work. I have really enjoyed being out on my own, I feel this is when I really learn when I’m out there on my own doing the job. Although there is no shortage of people on the other end of the phone I can call if I’m stuck with something. I have now been out on my own for a few weeks and I am really enjoying it, I’m growing in confidence in what I’m doing.

That’s it for now but I will be updating you again soon to let you know how the team are getting on.

Posted on by Kevin McDowall