Date: January 11, 2024 3:30 pm

Another Apprentice Qualified – building the Gilks’ team for the future

Another Apprentice Qualified – building the Gilks’ team for the future

Congratulations to Oliver an apprentice electrician of Gilks, who has successfully completed his 4 -year apprenticeship to become a qualified electrician.

Whilst building a range of skills and experience during his apprenticeship, Oliver indicated during his 2nd year that he had a keen interest in taking the route of electrical estimator and project management.

This was noted and showing excellent skills to suit these roles, Oliver was invited into the office to work alongside our experienced and qualified team of estimators and project engineers. This continued to broaden Oliver’s skillset and provide the experience to cement his decision that this was the route he wanted to progress after his Apprenticeship.

Oliver’s journey

However, prior to his apprenticeship becoming an electrician wasn’t a career path Oliver’s had looked at. His initial career path thoughts were quite different.

Always keen on sports, when it came to selecting his A-Levels, slightly unsure he took the options of mathematics, history, and P.E. With P.E. being his favoured subject, he continued to study a BTEC in Sports at college.

On successfully gaining his A-Levels and BTEC in Sports, as with many young people, it was time to make the decision to either go to university or look at an alternative path. After looking at Universities and much debating Oliver decided that University wasn’t the right route for him. It was at this point that his father encouraged him to look into Engineering Apprenticeships. He himself was in construction and knew of Gilks, as an established electrical engineering business and prompted Oliver to contact Gilks to enquire about possible apprenticeship places.

Apprenticeships have always played a crucial role at Gilks, to ensure new talent is nurtured to provide the electrical engineers of the future. It was perfect that Oliver approached us.

Starting at Gilks

After being excepted as an Apprentice Electrician, Oliver soon found himself on-site wearing a hard hat and high visibility clothing and gaining his first introduction in the world of commercial electrical engineering.

Oliver remembers his early time as an apprentice, “When they say apprentices hit the ground running, they’re not wrong. It was initially quite daunting being on-site, but the support given by the team was great. One of my first jobs was in Derby where I found the 6am starts an eye-opening experience as I had never been up that early in my life! Being on-site really enables you to learn a range of the skills from the team around you and absorb different experiences and scenarios that you wouldn’t gain from being in the classroom all the time”.

The Apprenticeship

Under the Apprenticeship programme, Oliver’s training to be a commercial electrician, included using a wide range of tools and continually developing his knowledge and practical skills. In addition to this it is always important to nurture personnel development on how to work as part of a team, work in different industrial environments and present yourself in front of clients and be able to problem solve when issues arise on site of changes occur.

Oliver explains, “When on site working to time scales were important factors. It does place pressure, but meeting deadlines on projects is essential, but no day was the same and looking back my days flew by”.

During training, Oliver absorbed everything he was taught and embraced furthering his development and knowledge. In doing so, Oliver became increasingly interested in understanding how projects were managed, from the initial design and estimation stage to commission. He liked the idea of managing the projects and dealing with clients. This was where Oliver was keen to progress into.

Looking to develop new skills

By this point Oliver was two years into his four-year electrician apprenticeship, which saw him splitting his time between working on-site in the various industry sectors Gilks supports and attending college.

Keen to gain a better understanding of the process of estimating and managing projects, Oliver took the opportunity to discuss this during a progression meeting and indicated his interest to develop his skills further.

Oliver’s work ethic, capabilities and professionalism was recognised and when his interest to progress into the contract handling side was identify, it was decided to provide Oliver with the opportunity to work with the internal teams.

The last ten months of Oliver’s apprenticeship saw him work in the office alongside the estimation and project engineering team. This offered Oliver the exposure to gain additional skills, knowledge, and experience regarding the management of projects. It would also enable him to decide if this was the route he would like to progress, once finishing his apprenticeship.

Hanging up his hard hat, Oliver was extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to move into the office. Mentored by the contracts manager he initially worked alongside the team and gradually built his knowledge to start taking responsibility for elements of projects, with the support from the team.

Oliver said, “I enjoyed the challenge of developing new skills, improving my communication skills and understanding the intricacies of estimating and project management. Obviously very different from being at the front face ‘on the tools’, but it really reinforced that it was this side of the business I wanted to progress in”.

Working with Gilks

Gilks undergo work across a range of industries, including education, care homes, food and beverage and manufacturing. The settings are very different. One day you could be dealing with a project that involves listed structures, and other could be newly built industrial warehousing units. It is essential that the correct regulations are adhered to when designing a new electrical or lighting system and considered when estimating projects.

Oliver has now gained experience working on such structures and being involved with the  project management.

He says from this experience, “A common challenge faced when working with historic and listed structures is not being able to disturb things. It could be a wooden beam holding a light unit, which would mean looking at how the electrical cabling could be re-rooted, which often then involves extra materials and time. All this needs to be identified and considered at the start of the project, so it is designed into the contract”.

Supporting our apprentice’s development

It’s always great to see our apprentices finally qualify and become electricians, but it is also extremely rewarding to see how they then continue to develop and progress their careers with us. Gilks are really proud that many apprentices stay within the business.

Oliver, as a qualified electrician, remains in the office and now holds the role of Project Engineer. He knows there is still has lots to learn, but he is excited to keep learning and wants to continue to progress within the business.

So where do you see yourself Oliver? 

His reply: “I will continue to build my knowledge and gain the skills to completely manage projects by myself, but I aspire to working my way up the ladder at Gilks. Who knows what opportunities will be there moving forward. Thank goodness I approached them about an apprenticeship initially. I would highly recommend the apprenticeship route”.

Congratulations Oliver, on becoming an electrician, but also for how you have progressed and become part of the internal team, as a Project Engineer. We’re all really proud of you and we look forward to you continuing to develop and progress at Gilks.

If you are interested in an apprenticeship with Gilks, or a career as an electrician or looking to move into the commercial electrical engineering sector, then get in touch, or visit our careers page for more information.


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