Date: March 4, 2024 9:55 am

From Apprentice to Qualified Electrician

From Apprentice to Qualified Electrician

Gilks continues to invest in apprenticeships to nurture and grow talent, to ensure we have the much needed commercial electrical and mechanical skills for the future.

It is always pleasing, therefore, when one of our apprentices completes their apprenticeship and becomes a qualified electrician.

This time we congratulate Louis, who has recently qualified and adds to the valuable team of experts at Gilks.

Louis’s Journey

It was clear to Louis, immediately after his initial interview with Gilks that an electrical apprenticeship was right path for him. It offered him the chance to gain key skills for life and a balance between theory work and hands-on experience. Obviously on successful completion, it also meant Louis would be a qualified electrician, providing him with a career path.

Louis’s apprenticeship journey started as a student at South Cheshire College in Crewe, which is now Cheshire College, South & West. Joining a 3-year programme Louis was exposed to an amalgamation of classroom study focusing on the theory side of electrical engineering, with one ‘day release’ which took him on-site with Gilks.

On-site Louis shadowed different qualified electricians. He gained experience and knowledge about using an array of tools and experienced the complexities of working in real-life scenarios. This is a vital element of developing problem solving skills and working in different environments, which the classroom can’t teach you. This is especially true for Louis, as Gilks are commercial electrical and mechanical engineers and work in a range of sectors.

The classroom study covered a range of modules, which included health and safety: concerns in the workplace. This is extremely important because as an electrician Louis would be working with a hazardous element, at high voltage and often working at heights.

Other modules included the science and principles behind electrical related work. Having the classroom theory supported Louis in building his understanding when on-site once a week. It gave him the opportunity to put into practice the theory he had learned.

The benefits of hands-on experience

Some may see working under different mentors would make life difficult and cause inconsistencies, but actually Louis explained that this was quite the opposite.

Louis says,The course encourages you to work shadow a range of superiors, and luckily Gilks adopts this approach. This benefit of working alongside different mentors is that it demonstrates how tasks and problems can be tackled in multiple ways. Each mentor has different experiences and so although they may carry out a task differently, it reached the same conclusion. Seeing tasks approached from different angles allows me to see the bigger picture and broadened my thinking and problem-solving skills”.

During his 3-year course, Louis soon realised that he really enjoyed being on-site and the additional skills and knowledge it gave him. Louis added, “Being on-site was great as I enjoyed applying the theory to real life scenarios, and gaining the additional experience of working on a project and within a team”.

Being part of the team

On qualifying Louis was pleased to be offered a position with Gilks, forming part of their commercial electrical engineering team. Working in a range of industries, including: care homes, education, manufacturing plants, means every day is different for Louis. All adding to his continuous journey of learning.

Now qualified what’s a standard day like with Gilks?

Asking Louis what a typical day is like for him, now he is working as a qualified electrician for Gilks, he explained:

  • My day starts by arriving on-site for 7am, which is obviously in different locations, as it depends upon the project you are working on.
  • You need to undergo risk assessment to understand the potential hazards.
  • The supervisor will advise who is doing what on the project.
  • Work on the area of the project you are allocated.
  • Off site at 5pm to travel home.

Louis explained: “Gilks employs a team of electrical specialists and mechanical engineers and depending on the project size, you could find yourself working with 3 people one day and then up to 15 the next day. We regularly work with  Seddons Construction who manage large projects, with Gilks awarded the electrical and mechanical elements of the contract. These projects can mean you are on site a for quite a while”.

Gaining valuable skills

When consulting Louis on what he thinks is the most valued skill he has obtained from his apprenticeship he believes it would be ‘work ethic’ as it is crucial to move forward and work as part of a team. “Showing an eagerness to learn, support your team and undertake the task set before you is important. You need to have professional time management and organisation skills and definitely a good attitude to work”.

In Louis’ opinion apprentices need to be eager to learn and obtain the correct willingness and attitude to succeed in the job.

Apprenticeship – A great way to springboard your career

Louis definitely recommends the apprenticeship route. He would encourage anyone who aspires to working as an electrician and looking for a varied and interesting career, with job satisfaction, to review the opportunities Gilks offer apprentices. “All they require is the right attitude and willingness to learn. It’s essential to listen to your mentors, as they have such a vast amount of experience, after all knowledge is power|”.

Where to next Louis?

Louis is currently thriving in his role as a qualified electrician and is enjoying the diversity of work being thrown at him daily. However, his long-term plan is to develop his organisation and management skills further by aspiring for a supervisors role as the management aspects of projects really interests him.

Louis successfully passed his apprenticeship with a Level 3 in Electro Technical and a Level 3 in Insulation and Electrician and Maintenance Electrician.

Gilks are a great company to work for as they are very professional and make their workforce feel respected, which is an essential aspect to the business. I enjoy how they make me feel valued and offer great opportunities for career development”.

And finally…. One of the standout moments for Louis

One of Louis’s memorable projects was the time he was involved in running cables through a video game design company over a weekend. The deadline on this job was just 2 days, whilst the offices were closed over the weekend. The team needed to manage the project to ensure it was completed on time, but maintaining the high standards Gilks set. The project was completed successfully. Louis felt a great sense of accomplishment when he heard the positive feedback from the client, who were extremely happy with the finish and completed on time.

On reflection of his experience so far Louis mentions he is amazed at how in-depth an electrician’s role is. He never thought it would be like this when thinking about it whilst at school.

It amazes me how demanding my work is and the diversity of sites we visit throughout the week. One day I am working in a manufacturing plant, the next a hospital or a school, or a care home, or university campus. Every day can be different”.

Gilks apprenticeship scheme

Gilks are advocates of apprenticeships, and as the Managing Director Andy started his career as an apprentice, it’s easy to see why they continue to support them.

Andy saysAs a route I travelled myself, I am very passionate about the balance apprenticeships give to an individual, both from learning the academic side and then putting this into a practice on site. This has always held me in good stead throughout my career as an electrician and beyond into management”.

Good luck for your future Louis, we are so thrilled to have you as part of our team at Gilks. We look forward to seeing your career continue to develop.

If you are interested in following the same path that Louis took, take a look at our Apprenticeship page and start your career with Gilks today.

If you are looking for a trusted and professional partner for your commercial electrical and mechanical projects, Contact our team.

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