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[ Spotlight: Apprentices ]

enormous potential of his technical skills. He won not only the accolade, but £1,000 and an electrician’s toolkit, and is fresh from an industry tour of Eaton Electric’s manufacturing plant in Austria, included as part of his prize. For Andy, going for an apprenticeship was a decision that has really paid off. He says: ‘I didn’t want to spend three years and a lot of cash just to get a certifi cate, but not have a job to go into. I’d seen friends go to university, have a great time and then struggle to fi nd work, which wasn’t what I wanted. I knew an apprenticeship would give me training in a trade, as well as a salary while I was learning the ropes.’ Now a qualifi ed installation electrician, Andy stated in his application and interviews for the award that his ambition was to progress on to contract management. It’s something he’s already on track to accomplish, as WT Parker has enrolled him on a two-year Higher National Certifi cate (HNC) course in Contracting Management at Loughborough College Like Gavin Richardson, for Andy’s employer the award was evidence that Andy is ready to develop his skills in senior areas of the business. Sean Smyth, chairman and managing director of WT Parker says: ‘The company is proud of Andy’s achievement. It confi rms that an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship is the best way to kick-start a career in the M&E industry. I am confi dent that Andy’s next step will be to contracts manager. He is clearly focused on career progression towards senior management within the company and in the wider industry.’

The ECA and Lightmongers Apprentice, Craft and Master Awards Bob Harris, RT Harris & Son, Oxford. The ECA and Lightmongers Master Certifi cate This year the ECA joined with the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers to establish an Apprentice, Craft and Master Certifi cate scheme for the electrotechnical and lighting industries – the latest in a range of Lightmongers award pathways, which recognise achievement and excellence across building and construction disciplines.

Three levels of award – Apprentice, Craft, and Master – are available to operatives working in our sector who have demonstrated an above average commitment to, and high performance in their fi eld of work. In particular, the Master level certifi cate recognises careers founded on skill, and the valuable competencies of what are deemed to be ‘master’ craftsmen. So it is most appropriate that the fi rst ‘master’

craftsman recognised by the ECA and Lightmongers was Bob Harris, former ECA president, chairman of National Electrotechnical Services (NET) and managing director of RT Harris & Son. Bob was presented with his Master Certifi cate at a ceremony in Carpenters’ Hall earlier this year, in recognition of his enormous commitment to craft skills, apprentice training and mentoring over his entire career in the industry. With this award, Bob’s path has taken him from apprentice to master.

Above: Bob Harris (right) being presented with the ECA and Lightmongers Master Certifi cate by City of London Sheriff Peter Cook

Demonstrating that one award success can raise an individual’s profi le and lead to further openings, Matthew Williams of P&R Hurt in Yeovil, the 2009 ECA Edmundson Apprentice of the Year, was the recipient of the fi rst Apprentice Certifi cate in the ECA and Lightmongers scheme.

About the author

Iain Macdonald Iain Macdonald is the head of ECA Education and Training and has been representing the ECA’s skills and training agenda since 2004.

The sign of success While many industry awards, including the ECA Edmundson Awards, are based on a candidate’s written application and their performance in front of a judging panel interview, the industry also hosts various skill competitions. These competitions differ from awards in that they

involve timed practical electrical tasks that test the skills and timing of trainees in simulated real-work scenarios; however the aims and outcomes are much the same – to foster and develop trainee talent. Whatever the format, in the competitive employment

market we’re experiencing today, achievements like these serve to highlight that these are individuals who are prepared to work very hard, to put the effort in and to strive for the best in their workmanship, their working relationships and their future career. Very often, it is a sign to employers of a very competent tradesperson, a team player and an ideal candidate for development opportunities and career progression.

Further information

The ECA Edmundson Awards are now open for nominations for apprentices and adult trainee hopefuls for 2011. We urge ECA members to consider entering their best people, putting them on the road to career success. For details and a downloadable application form, visit the ECA website, and apply before February 2011.

For information about the ECA and Lightmongers Master Craft scheme, contact David Thomas (

In this article:

Winter 2010 ECA Today 43

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