Rob joined Centrica in 2003 as a British Gas Central Heating Installation Engineer Apprentice. Since then, he’s gone on to mentor many other apprentices before moving to a role in Learning & Development and embarking on a second apprenticeship himself.
Here he explains why apprenticeships have played such a key role in his career.
When I was at school I never really thought of myself as a particularly ‘hands-on’ person; I was going down the route of doing my A-levels and heading off to university. When I realised I wasn’t necessarily going to get the results I’d hoped for, I had a rethink.
British Gas was running a big apprenticeship recruitment campaign at the time and it appealed to me as I knew I still wanted to get a formal qualification but I also wanted to work somewhere where it was more about a career than just a job.
During my initial apprenticeship, I split my time between our learning centre in Leeds and working in customers’ homes in my local patch.
I was supported by a dedicated mentor throughout and it’s this support which has always proved invaluable to me. When it comes to my development, I’ve never really been told no. It’s just made me think: ‘What could I go on to achieve?’
This is the mindset I’ve tried to adopt when I’m the one in the position to be offering support.
After several years as an engineer I became a mentor myself. Seeing my apprentices learn and progress was what I enjoyed the most – even more than the role itself – and it was this that made me realise I was passionate about developing people.
From here, I moved into a role within one of our learning centres where I was responsible for managing groups of apprentices through various programmes, before moving on to manage our training delivery team.
I currently work as a Programme Specialist within Talent, Learning & Resourcing. My responsibilities align very closely to those of a project manager, so as soon as I heard that Centrica was offering a Project Management Apprenticeship for existing employees, I jumped at the chance to apply.
I‘m now nearly five months into this apprenticeship and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’m already seeing the benefits to my performance.
I really like the way my apprenticeship provides me with the opportunity to fully embed my learning and put this learning into practice during my day to day role. It gives you that real push to progress and I would encourage anyone to consider it, whether you’re at the start of your career or ready for a change in direction.