When John Heward, founder and CEO of J.H. Mechanics Ltd in Stockton, was approached with the opportunity to take on an apprentice, it was a no-brainer for him.
Having already employed three apprentices from NETA, John was approached by the Etc. group through Stockton Riverside College and was introduced to Lewis, who was soon to sit his GCSE’s and had his sights set on earning whilst learning.
What’s more, John began his journey as an apprentice in the 1990’s and has now come full circle; running his own mechanical, electrical and water management services company.
We asked John, what was the main driver behind taking on an apprentice?
“I began as an apprentice in the 90’s, and think it’s a great way to learn a skill. Back then, being an apprentice was an uncommon path, but now it’s heavily supported in education institutions which is a fantastic opportunity for young professionals.”
You’ve taken on three apprentices, what compelled you to take on another?
“The system works. All three have excelled in their roles, and upon completion they will have a fair chance of a job with us on a contractual basis. Lewis is brand new to the company, but already an asset to us.”
How have you found the Etc. service has been so far?
“Fantastic. I’ve worked with NETA for my previous apprentices, however this time around NETA directed us to Stockton, who connected us with Lewis. I require all my apprentices to have the CSCS safety cards, which the college group provided with no hesitation.”
What would you say to someone who is considering taking on an apprentice?
“It’s 100% the best way to recruit and provide growth for your business. If someone hadn’t given me that chance, I may not be where I am today. It gives young people who may favour practical skills over a classroom an opportunity to shine.”
Lewis, who joined J.H. Mechanical straight out of school, has settled in well, having started his electrician/ maintenance electrician role in September.
We asked Lewis, Why did you choose an apprenticeship as opposed to college?
“My school careers team, my family and myself were in agreement that I’d be better suited to a more hands-on approach to my career, so an apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering seemed perfect.”
What has been your biggest achievement since starting your apprenticeship?
“I’ve only really just started, but I’ve integrated into the team really well. Everyone is really supportive, and I look forward to learning some new skills.”
What one thing would you say to someone else in a similar position who’s looking to further their studies or upskill?
“Do it – but only if you want to. Really think about what you’d like to do, then go for it!”
Where to next?
“It’s early doors, but get qualified and see my apprenticeship through.”
We will be touching base with John, Lewis and the firm throughout Lewis’s journey, so stay tuned. If you’d like to know more about our apprenticeships scheme, click here https://www.cleveland.ac.uk/apprenticeships/. If you’re a business and would like to inquire about apprenticeships, you can speak to our team on 01642 865 577.