2023 UK Apprenticeship Week
Getting to the 16th edition this year, the UK Apprenticeship Week takes place at the beginning of February, between the 6th and the 12th of the month. The event is organized by Amazing Apprenticeships, an organization which promotes the benefits of technical education and brings together schools, colleges and employers.
This year the theme of the UK Apprenticeship Week is “Skills for Life”. The theme focuses on how much an apprenticeship helps individuals to learn, develop and acquire expertise and competencies for a future career in the skilled trades.
1. Hello! Tell us a couple of words about you. What’s your name and how old are you?
Ciaran: Hello, my name is Ciaran, I’m a plumbing and heating apprentice from Essex. I am currently in my second year out of 4 and am thoroughly enjoying it.
Alex: My name is Alex Sparrow and I’m 20 years old.
2. How did you decide to start an apprenticeship in trades? Tell us a couple of words about how it all started and how it’s going so far.
Ciaran: When leaving school I knew I didn’t want to go down the academic route and wanted to start working. Initially, I wanted to be an electrician but after some persuading from my dad, I chose to join him in plumbing and have never looked back.
Alex: I started working as a labourer on a building site and I was helping all the trades. I looked in the airing cupboard and had no idea what all the valves did or understand any of the plumbing, but I wanted to learn. So far it’s going very well, I’ve been working as an apprentice for over 2 years now.
3. Did the Covid pandemic and restrictions affect your professional path?
Ciaran: Luckily, COVID did not affect me as much as others as I was still in school at that time.
Alex: No, luckily the pandemic did not hinder me at all.
4. Describe your apprenticeship experience in 3 words.
Ciaran: Stressful, rewarding, mistakes.
Alex: Challenging, fun, rewarding.
5. What is the most important thing you learned during your apprenticeship?
Ciaran: The most important thing I have learned is to not let mistakes frustrate you. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn. Making a mistake or having leaks isn’t a bad thing as long as you overcome them well and don’t make the same mistake twice!
Alex: Keep a cool head and attack problems with a level head. 🤪
6. Tell us a couple of details about your proudest moment since you are in the trades.
Ciaran: One of my proudest moments in the trade has got to be buying all my own tools and being able to go to jobs on my own and complete them efficiently and correctly. Also being able to help out family and friends gives a great sense of achievement.
Alex: I believe fixing a bathroom completely on my own was a high point, especially to see how pleased the customer was with the standard of work.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still in trades, or pursuing other career options?
Ciaran: In 5 years time I see myself still in the trade, fully qualified to complete work at a high standard but I also want to be venturing out into the real estate market using the knowledge and skills I have learnt so far.
Alex: In 5 years time I’m hoping to have my own business and run my own jobs with my younger brother.
8. Have you used any RIDGID tools so far? To you, which are the most important things to take into consideration when choosing the tools you work with? Do the RIDGID tools have these characteristics?
Ciaran: I have used many RIDGID tools including the deburring tool (which I use daily), and pipe threading machines, but my favourite tool has to be the RIDGID x SUPREME collaboration pipe wrench because not only does it do the job. It allows me to do the job in style 😂
Alex: To me it's very important to see how long a tool lasts is paramount as we use the tools day in and day out it’s important they are hard-wearing. From what I’ve seen yes the RIDGID tools are very hard-wearing.
9. What is your advice/ message for a person who thinks about choosing an apprenticeship in trades?
Ciaran: My advice for someone thinking about starting an apprenticeship would simply be: don’t be afraid to give everything a go and don’t worry about making mistakes.
Alex: Get stuck in, don’t hold back and always have a go!
10. This year we are turning 100 years old. What’s your message for us?
Ciaran: 100 years?! That’s why your tools are the best on the market.
Alex: Wow, 100 years! You must be doing something right!