SECTT has launched a new light-hearted apprentice podcast with SELECT in which young learners reveal the behind-the-scenes highlights and challenges of their training.
The first episode of Sparks’ Remarks sees five Scottish apprentices sharing laughs and stories about some of the pranks they and their colleagues have experienced during their time in the classroom and on-site.
Aimed at existing and would-be apprentices, the youngsters talk frankly about the ups and downs of getting to grips with such a challenging discipline – and the companionship and fun that comes with it.
One learner reveals: “One boy on my course was sent to look for fallopian tubes; he was walking around the site all day asking people and they were saying, ‘No, I didn’t bring mine today’.”
Another reveals: “I know someone who go sent to look for a left-handed screwdriver – they were away for ages.”
While a third tells listeners: “One of my mates was told he had to make a video of how to carry stuff properly on-site, so he pretended to walk about with a wheelbarrow filled with electrical equipment.”
The Sparks’ Remarks podcast also has a serious side, with apprentices revealing the things they find most challenging – including early starts and cold mornings – and the support they receive from tutors and employers as they learn their trade.
One youngster reveals: “I wouldn’t try to sugar-coat it – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s definitely worth it in the end if you get your head down and get a trade.”
The launch episode – entitled The Good, The Bad And The Fallopian Tube Windups – is the first in a series of podcasts that see the electrical talent of tomorrow open up to journalist Kim McAllister and Barrie McKay, Training and Development Manager at SECTT.
The opening 15-minute show hears the thoughts of five first-year learners from West Lothian College – Fay Greens and Mason Arthurs who work for West Lothian Council, Nick Anderson of Glasgow Rewires Ltd, Robbie Super of Everwarm Ltd and Aaron Muir from Westrigg Electrical Services.
Barriesaid: “Sparks’ Remarks is designed to be a light-hearted and honest reflection of what apprentices really think of their training journey. So in this first episode they make it clear that there’s a lot of hard work, but there’s a lot of fun and camaraderie to be had too.
“The electrical apprenticeship is not an easy course, but hopefully this podcast shows how learners are supported every step of the way. As we release each episode, it will also be great to see how the talent of tomorrow is shaping up and taking their future into their own hands.”
Produced by Paisley-based creative agency Connect Communications, future episodes of Sparks’ Remarks will see apprentices reflecting on what they’re learned during their first year in the classroom and on-site, with older learners also handing down invaluable advice.
Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT – which manages high-quality training on behalf of the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) – said: “It’s been a delight to listen to this podcast and hear the enthusiasm with which these apprentices are embarking on what, for many people, can be a very steep and daunting learning curve.
“It is good to hear about the support that they receive, not only from their employers, college staff and lecturers, but also from the electrical professionals on site who take time to help them learn their trade in the best possible way.”
Iain Mason, Director of Membership and Communications at SELECT,added: “We’re really excited to be putting these episodes together and are already looking forward to hearing more stories from apprentices across the country.
“By hearing real voices from Scotland’s electrical apprentices, hopefully we can encourage more talented young learners to join a rewarding industry which is already playing a key part in all of our lives.”
The new podcast comes during a record year for electrical apprenticeships in Scotland, with 934 apprentices and adult trainees recruited for the 2022/23 intake.
It also comes just weeks after SECTT, SJIB and SELECT welcomed additional funding for electrical apprentices and adult trainees following a plea to government – but insisted that support must continue to prevent future shortfalls of talent.
The bodies say it is “worrying” that extra places may not be funded in 2023 and beyond – and insists the Scottish Government must support the sector by providing full funding for those seeking to be apprentice electricians and help the country on its journey to net zero.
Listen to the first episode of the new Sparks’ Remarks podcast here.