The Journey of an Apprentice at WPJ!

Merriam-webster.com defines an Apprentice as a person who learns a job or skill by working for a fixed period of time for someone who is very good at that job or skill. At WPJ Heating we look at it as an investment not only into the future of our company, but also into the lives of the apprentices we employee.

An apprentice’s journey begins with having to sit their NVQs levels 1 to 3 through a registered college. This involves building a portfolio of jobs out on-site and passing set tests at college. Generally each level takes a year. Levels one and two train them to become plumbers, fit bathrooms, change taps, mend leaks etc.

Level 3 is the step up to gas training and working on central heating. The key to success is gaining enough on the job experience to bolster the paperwork they do at college. The practical is as important if not more so than the theory. 4 days a week with us, 1 day a week at college allows this balance.

Once they have completed level 3, they apply to a different training centre to undertake core gas training. This training needs them to build up a certain amount of on-site exposure to gas work and then they sit exams and if they pass, can become Gas Safe registered.

At WPJ we’ve been taking on apprentices for several years now. We regard it as very valuable for a number of reasons. Firstly it gives training and a job-for-life opportunity to a young school leaver. Secondly it provides a stable framework in which they can learn the trade, having 4 days a week on the job accompanying our engineers and one day a week in college for the paperwork and theory side.

Our hope is to train up and ever-developing a group of young lads and turn them into skilled, reliable and professional tradesmen. We want our employees to act and behave in a certain way as we have very high customer standards and expectations. Starting chaps off early allows them to be immersed in this culture so that we know we have a great finished product at the end of the 3 year apprenticeship. The more our team grows, the more we know our investment is paying off.

Of course these strong young lads give a welcome reprieve to our older crew when it comes to lumbering boilers up and down stairs, too! Plumbing and heating is a physical job and everyone likes having an enthusiastic apprentice along in the van.

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