Andy Hosier – Brightest Young Spark of 2010
For most 18 year olds who leave school after their A-levels, university beckons. For many young people it’s a chance to experience the freedom of living away from home, and their first foray into life away from their parents. For some, however, life on campus, whilst an attractive prospect, is not for them.
Andy Hosier, who recently completed an electrical apprenticeship with WT Parker Ltd, felt that university seemed an expensive option, with no guarantee of getting a job. He says: “I didn’t want to spend three years and a lot of cash to just to get a certificate but not have a job to go into. I’d seen friends go to university, have a great time and then struggle to find 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.”
Andy applied for an electrical apprenticeship, and was taken on by WT Parker Ltd, electrical and mechanical contractor based in Staffordshire and part of the W T Parker Group. One of his first jobs was at the Budweiser factory in London; a great place, he says, to learn the ropes. “It was a brilliant job for an 18 year old – and even better, a two week stint turned into a two year placement. Working on the Budweiser brewery was an amazing first project, really interesting as a job and the location meant we had plenty of places to socialise after work!”
Andy completed his apprenticeship in November 2009, passing the AM2 Assessment of Competency, overseen by industry charity NET (National Electrotechnical Training). Once qualified, Andy carried on working for WT Parker Ltd, the company who had taken him on as an 18 year old trainee. He says the best thing about working with the firm is the variety of the work they undertake: “One day I can be re-wiring a house, the next I can be installing equipment in a brewery or working on one of the bases at the Ministry of Defence – it’s great, I never know what I’m doing from one day to the next!”
There was one big surprise still to come for Andy when he was nominated for ECA Edmundson Apprentice of the Year Award 2010. At the award ceremony in June he won the top accolade – Apprentice of Year Award – becoming the first candidate from the Midlands to win it. “I never expected to win, so the award was testament to the work I’d put in during my training. I’m starting a HNC in Contract Management soon, which I’m not sure I’d have been entered for if I hadn’t won the award.”
As part of his prize, Andy visited Austria to view a production factory. “It was brilliant – I’d love to go back. We thought we’d just be seeing Austria, but they managed to take us into the Czech Republic as well. It’s an amazing country, and I’d definitely love to go back there again.”
So would Andy recommend an apprenticeship to those school leavers who are considering their options? “Yes I would, although there may be some merit in staying on and doing your A-levels first,” he says. “I didn’t find it difficult to juggle studying with work, and that may have been because I’d done my A-levels and was a little bit more used to studying than someone who’d become an apprentice at 16. An apprenticeship is definitely something I’d suggest to someone leaving school, especially if they don’t want to waste time and start earning as soon as they can!”