Where are they now?
Geraint was a carpentry apprentice with Y Prentis from February 2015 until March 2017. During that time, he worked with Cosgrove and Lovell on a number of projects before becoming a self-employed carpenter.
Before joining Y Prentis, Geraint was studying for his Level 1 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery at Coleg Gwent. He spent a lot of his free time working with a contractor who promised him an apprenticeship, but after some time it didn’t materialise so Geraint decided to start looking elsewhere.
Geraint said, “When the opportunity fell through, I was struggling to find another apprenticeship as they can be hard to come by. I heard about Y Prentis through the college, and a few weeks later I was invited for an interview. I was interviewed by Dafydd and Mandy who told me all about Y Prentis. It sounded really good and I managed to successfully secure an apprenticeship place with them.”
Throughout his two-year apprenticeship, Geraint attended Coleg Gwent at their Newport campus one day a week and achieved his NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Carpentry and Joinery. He started his apprenticeship with a short placement with Cosgrove before being placed with Lovell.
“Working with Lovell was great. I was placed with sub-contractor D&A Carpentry who were really keen to teach me and develop my skills as a carpenter. Bernie and Darryl both couldn’t do enough for me either, helping me with my progression and supporting my development all the way. Lee from the Y Prentis team also came out to see me every couple of weeks, talking to both me and my site manager to see how I was progressing. He would be really helpful in providing me with constructive criticism to help me learn.”
After completing his NVQ Level 2 and 3, Geraint became a kitchen fitter with Magnet Kitchens. He spent six months with them before deciding to become self-employed.
“It was a hard decision to go self-employed, but after a few issues with not getting paid I decided I need to do something about it. I first started working with a few property developers and contractors who I had met through my apprenticeship. They gave me some jobs, and from there I built my own business - GM Carpentry.
“I’ve been self-employed for two and half years now, specialising in kitchen fittings and other carpentry jobs. Being your own boss, you have to be disciplined and manage your time effectively. You also realise that things happen, so you’ve got to learn how you deal with them. Being self-employed has also given me more motivation and pride in my work. The effort you put into every job increases dramatically because it’s your own reputation at stake. It’s really rewarding too as you can be flexible with your hours, as long as you’re delivering the work you have promised to carry out. You can grow your business as big as you’d like it to be, giving you a work-life balance which works for you - and that’s important to me.”
We asked Geraint what he’d say to somebody interested in applying for an apprenticeship. He said, “It’s only two years, but the experience and skills you gain in that time is life changing. It’s a brilliant way to start your career. You learn the work life values and the importance of taking pride in your work. It can be hard at times, but if you can get past the tough times it really is rewarding.”
Geraint established GM Carpentry in 2017 and has built a good reputation across south-east Wales region. If you would like to contact Geraint regarding work you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07702 099385.