Matthew Lowe is a 21 year old Gas & Plumbing apprentice from Caerphilly, he attends Ystrad Mynach College.
Matthew started Y Prentis in 2013, he has been hosted with Gibson Special Technical Services ever since. He first took an interest in Gas & Plumbing when he watched his grandfather install a boiler in his home when he was a child. His grandfather also worked for Gibson before retiring a few years ago so getting a placement with them was him carrying on the family trade.
It took a while for Matthew to bed into this position but after speaking with Paul Gibson- Director of Gibson, he changed teams and made excellent progress. Matthew said that whenever he has an issue with his NVQ or a job he can go to Paul and his colleagues for advice, he feels as though he has gained confidence as he is more sociable and was pushed out of his comfort zone by speaking to customers which is something he wouldn’t have done before his apprenticeship. Paul also has seen a change in Matthew, since his work environment changed he has thrived and praise from customers has helped him.
Whilst out on site Matthew undertakes varied Gas & Plumbing duties that include pipe work, plant rooms, installations and servicing of radiators & boilers, bathroom maintenance and surveying.
Matthew said he enjoyed studying for his NVQ, He preferred the practical side of his qualification rather than the theory, but is confident with both. Since starting his apprenticeship he was able to pay for driving lessons and pay for and keep a vehicle on the road.
Once Matthew has completed his apprenticeship he will be employed by Gibson, Paul said they never saw Matthew as the apprentice he was always one of the team and just as important as any of the team.
Matthew has said Y Prentis have given him an amazing opportunity to start his career and the team have been helpful throughout his apprenticeship, he would tell any young person thinking about apprenticeships to do it.
Gibson has been running for 50 years and employs 80+ employees providing a range of technical services to Universities and social housing sectors across Wales.
They have taken on 50+ apprentices over the last 4 years, Paul said it is difficult to recruit the right calibre of people so taking on apprentices is preferred as they can be trained and skilled to suit the business. Although sometimes having apprentices does come with ups and downs as some have a really good work ethic whereas others want everything done for them, but they have come to realise that the apprentices have backgrounds and they need time to adapt to changes, it is getting to know the person individually. After an apprentice completes with them, another apprentice is taken on male and female.
Paul said shared apprenticeship schemes are an excellent method to increase the apprentice’s opportunities in wales as work and contracts are short, it allows them to complete their qualifications before the contract ends.