A Manufacturing Apprenticeship with JC Metalworks: The Inside Scoop

25th February 2019   |   News

Earlier this month, we decided to have a proper sit-down chat with our apprentices to find out a bit more about how they came to us, how they’re finding life at JC and their ambitions for the future. It was a really interesting chat, and one we’ll definitely repeat. With thanks to our apprentices, Thomas Shardlow, Fabian Mort, Chris Walker, Tai Jones and Tom Ross for giving up their time and sharing their experiences.

Without exception, our apprentices all found us through recommendations from their colleges. Having had a number of apprentices over the years, we are proud of our successful apprenticeship programme and it’s good to hear that this is being recognised where it matters so that other young people can be given the opportunity to benefit from the experiences on offer.

Describing their apprenticeship

Asked to describe what their apprenticeship was like, and what they valued most about it, the apprentices agreed that they enjoyed the challenge and responsibility of doing a proper job. They all thought it was a much better preparation than simply staying in college and learning the theory behind the work they’re able to carry out with us. Being in a position to produce real work, and be praised for this brings them all a real sense of achievement and pride, particularly when they see their work go through despatch to be sent out to happy clients.

They explained that they each worked on a rotation system within the factory, giving them three months in each different area. They liked how this allowed them to learn new skills and widen their understanding of the business and the manufacturing process as a whole. They were all surprised by how diverse the skills needed between departments can be, and all found they had real preferences with the type of work and skills they needed to utilise. Everyone agreed that there was definitely something to interest anyone. Every apprentice was also full of praise for the team leaders (no, they weren’t in the room!) and said how helpful they were at building up both their confidence and experience across the departments.


Would they recommend a JC apprenticeship?

It was nice to hear that every single one of the apprentices said they would recommend JC for anyone looking at doing an apprenticeship. They said that the people they worked with made working at JC an enjoyable place to be, and the support and advice they’ve all been given and continue to be given along the way is really important to them and their ability to learn and improve on the job. They all appreciate the breadth of the work on offer, and the number of different machines they’re given the opportunity to use. An interesting point that was raised was how different the machine work is to their previous expectations of a lot of manufacturing. Although the machines do a lot of the actual fabrication, they do of course go wrong or have problems and so working with these provides a lot of opportunity for problem solving and creative thinking. Again, this was given as yet another example of the many different areas of experience and knowledge that our apprenticeships offer.

The apprentices were all keen as well on the social side of working for JC. From the Christmas quiz and charity events that are held here, to the day to day meeting and working with new people, they all agreed that it was a nice environment in which to work.


What advice would they give?

Last, but not least, the apprentices were happy to offer some advice to anyone who may be considering an apprenticeship with JC in the future. They said that it was important to keep an open mind as to the different types of work available to you. The rotation system means that everyone gets an opportunity to try their hand at many different things, and although you may not enjoy all of them, you will definitely find something that suits you. They also said that although it can be daunting at first, you really can do it! Each apprentice is given lots of training and lots of support from the team leaders and every single one of them is enabled to learn and to do a good job. Lastly, they wanted to remind everyone to be prepared to make mistakes. Never forget that as an apprentice, you’re here to learn and so you won’t always do things right the first time.


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