Why did you choose to complete an apprenticeship?
I decided to complete an apprenticeship as I prefer hands-on, physical work. I chose carpentry as there are so many different aspects and it's always very challenging.
What were the best elements of your training?
I found my apprenticeship through a friend who is also a carpenter. One great thing about a trade is that it’s generally very easy to find work through mutual acquaintances, especially once you've been in the industry for a few years.
What did you learn that you didn’t expect?
I found I learnt the most when working on very old homes, doing renovations and extensions. It also helps to never be afraid to ask a question — if you're not sure, just ask. It's the best way to learn.
At the very start, I didn’t think that carpentry would be so vast. Almost six years after I started my apprenticeship, I’m still learning new things and re-learning new ways to do things that I already know.
Where has the apprenticeship led you?
Completing my apprenticeship has resulted in me starting my own small business. The main reason I did this is because I always loved a challenge and, when working for yourself, all responsibility is on you. Taking ownership of my work is incredibly rewarding.
Before I started my business I tried to get as much advice from other carpenters and tradesmen who had started their own businesses. It was a great way to learn from their experiences, especially where they had made good or bad decisions and how it affected them and their business.
One piece of advice I would give is to be patient — you will know when it's the right time to go out on your own — and to not expect it to be easy or think that it’s going to happen overnight. It’s a slow process, but eventually you build a strong client base and the contracts start coming in on their own.
What advice would you give to students considering an apprenticeship?
I always found that it was very important to get along with my employer. Other than that, don’t be afraid to make mistakes — it's how you learn — and remember that the key to being a good tradesman is your enthusiasm and willingness to put in effort.
It would be great if he could add something along the lines of what was great about the actual apprenticeship, e.g. being able to train in an area of interest or having direct access to an employer.