Faced with the challenges and surprises of the past year,Dylan – of Coatbridge – has turned negatives into positives and progressed with his development. However, Dylan didn’t take the conventional route to his apprenticeship.
Whereas many of his peers embark on an apprenticeship soon after leaving school, Dylan went onto college to study electrical engineering.
“It might an unusual way to get your foot onto the career ladder but I have no regrets,” said Dylan.
I knew I wanted to learn a trade when I finished school and going onto college helped me understand that becoming an electrician was the right path for me. And, although, it added a couple of years onto my journey, they certainly haven’t been wasted. I knew I was taking the right path and it was my path.
As his studies at college drew to a close and the daunting prospect of finding a job loomed, Dylan wasted no time. He pounded the pavement, knocked on the doors and handed out as many CVs as he could.
“I guess handing out CVs and knocking on the doors of companies asking for an opportunity isn’t seen as the typical way to get a job nowadays but I wanted to stand out amongst the crowd. When I saw that Mears was taking on apprentices, I became persistent in trying to get my foot in the door.
“Thankfully my pestering was rewarded when I got a phone call inviting me to an interview. I knew about Mears and the work they do across North Lanarkshire but when I was face-to-face in the interview, and learning more about what the apprenticeship would offer, I knew it was for me.”
Apprenticeships are an integral part of Mears’ philosophy and many senior figures within the business today started as apprentices themselves. As Dylan’s interviewers learned more about him, his aspirations and enhanced education, there was no doubt he was the right fit for the company.
From day one, Dylan got his hands stuck in and went to work.Everything was going well and then the pandemic hit. Work changed almost overnight but Dylan and Mears adapted rapidly to the new reality.
“Work was great – I was learning how to do electrical testing to ensure houses were safe; it was a deep-dive into how electrical systems worked. When Covid-19 came about, it all changed suddenly. The nature of our work was flipped upside down but the company took steps to ensure we continued to be paid and were supported.
Understandably, the pandemic has impacted the traditional way we learn practical skills on-the-job but we’ve adapted and are all continuing to learn. I’ve been able to pass all my tests so far, which I’m proud of given the circumstances.
“Despite the obstacles, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship. At the end of the day, it’s how we overcome our challenges and Covid-19 is something that is affecting us all. I can’t wait to get back to normality and working properly again. We have a great team at Mears, all across North Lanarkshire, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work my way up through the company and take part in some really exciting projects.”
To help ensure that each Mears apprentice in North Lanarkshire is able to achieve their academic goals and career aspirations, they work closely with experienced and skilled tradespeople. When asked about Dylan,his colleague John Docherty, said:
From the beginning, you could tell Dylan was incredibly competent and with that little bit of extra maturity and life experience, you know he’s eager to learn and get stuck-in. He’s never afraid to ask for extra guidance if he needs it and likewise, he’s always willing to help others out. Dylan really is a credit to himself because you know he wants to get the best out of his work and I’m looking forward to seeing him develop as a great tradesman.
With such positive feedback for Dylan, it’s no wonder Mears is invested in his development and future success. Apprentices, like Dylan, who complete all the requirements of their schemes can look forward to being offered full-time positions with the company.
“It’s great to know I have a future with Mears. In these times, having a sense of job security and a path to success shouldn’t be taken for granted. For anyone looking to start an apprenticeship, I would tell them to get out there, find the opportunities and do what I did – knock on doors and hand out CVs. I’m proof that you don’t always have to go straight from school into an apprenticeship, you can continue learning and go to college.
“An apprenticeship is a journey and it doesn’t matter how or when you get started, we all get to the same goal in the end.”