Where are they now?

Thomas Pritchard

Thomas Pritchard was a carpentry apprentice with Y Prentis from July 2016 until December 2018 and during that time worked on sites with Hale Construction, Knox & Wells and Lovell.

While studying a full-time level 1 carpentry course at Coleg Gwent, Thomas had aspirations to go and do an apprenticeship. Showing a hard work and commitment to his studies, his tutor put him forward for a carpentry opportunity with Y Prentis.

Thomas said: “I always wanted to practice a trade and believed that an apprenticeship would be the best way to start doing that. It was always my plan to do an apprenticeship once I completed my level 1. I was looking for jobs and handing out my CV to lots of different companies, but it was difficult to find a place as many weren’t looking to take people on, so it was great when Y Prentis came into the college and considered me for a position."

Y Prentis interviewed Thomas at the end of his NVQ Level 1 Carpentry course, and the following month he was out on site with Hale Construction.

Thomas said: “My first placement was great. I got to work on a big housing site with lots of people, so I got to learn from different people. I worked on two different sites with Hale Construction before moving on to a school site with Knox & Wells. I did different types of carpentry work on the two different sites, but that was great for my portfolio. For my final placement I worked with Lovell on another housing site, but it was at an earlier stage of its development so I learnt how to do even more different types of carpentry work.”

Over the two years, Thomas moved around four different sites, networking with employers and securing two job offers for when he qualified.

“The shared model is really good as I learnt lots of things from different people. Everyone has a different way of doing things, but when you work with only one person you only learn how they do it. It gave me more options to consider when I was looking for work towards the end of my apprenticeships.

“I was offered a job at the end of my first year for when I had fully qualified. It was a big relief knowing that I had a job lined up. However, I ended up taking a job with a contractor on the same site during my last placement. I made some connections with them and was able to secure a second job offer which I decided to take. It’s was a real big help moving around as it helped me secure those job opportunities. A lot of the people you meet and have the opportunity to work with know you and the standard of work you can deliver, so it’s a massive benefit.”

Throughout his apprenticeship, Thomas worked hard and was always focused on what he needed to do to achieve his qualifications.

Lee Thomas, CITB Advisory, said: “Thomas always wanted to succeed in the carpentry profession. He never complained and was always willing to listen and take on instruction. He was very polite and a good apprentice who always worked hard and knew exactly where he was with his qualification and what was required to complete his NVQ.”

Thomas said: “Everyone, both contractors and the Y Prentis team, were great. I never had any problems, and everyone was really helpful. Lee from Y Prentis was really good with me, always phoning my assessor and finding out how I was doing. It was good to know he’d be on site every so often so that I could have a chat if there were any issues.”

Following completion of his apprenticeship, Thomas secured a job with Skills Fix. They’re currently subcontracted to Richard Kemble and working on Kier’s development of Croesyceiliog School in Cwmbran.

We asked Thomas what he’d say to somebody interested in applying for an apprenticeship. He said: “An apprenticeship is the best way to get into a trade and the easiest way to learn. Employers want you to have experience, and an apprenticeship gives you that. Doing an apprenticeship also helped me make the transition into full-time work much easier.”

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