Overton Electrical Services Ltd

I REALISED A LONG TIME AGO THAT IF I DON’T TRAIN APPRENTICES, I WON’T HAVE THE SKILLED TRADESPEOPLE OF TOMORROW

Mansfield business owner David Overton has a long and proud tradition of taking on apprentices.

The founder and managing director of Overton Electrical Services Ltd – a fully-accredited contractor to domestic, commercial and industrial customers – has recruited and trained more than 80 apprentices since launching his firm 33 years ago.

Mr Overton began his career as an apprentice electrician at the age of 16, completing a five-year apprenticeship through West Notts College.

His company, based on the Hermitage Lane Industrial Estate, currently has five trainee electricians on its books, who are learning all aspects of the trade through on-the-job training while studying a vocational qualification.

Eighteen-year-olds Luke Kennedy, Reece McMillan and Bradley Fletcher are in the final year of their advanced apprenticeship after progressing from intermediate level.

It sees them gaining practical work experience alongside the City and Guilds Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electro-technical Equipment and Systems, which they study on day-release at the college’s construction campus in Kirkby.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Keenan Johnson, from Sutton, and James Whitaker, 16, from Skegby, began their intermediate apprenticeships with the firm earlier this month, as they take their first step towards a career in the industry.

Some secured their role after impressing on work experience as college students, while others began straight from school.

Mr Overton said: “I’m a big believer in apprenticeships. They’re the only way to ‘home-grow’ your own electricians. I set my first apprentice on in 1983 – the year I began in business – and I reckon I’ve taken on in excess of 80 since then.

"I realised a long time ago that if I don’t train apprentices, I won’t have the skilled tradespeople of tomorrow.

"We give our apprentices fantastic training – and because we’re an all-round electrical contractor, they gain experience in everything from electrical installations to fitting and maintaining fire alarms, CCTV and security systems.

"The wealth for my business is that if they stay with us once they’ve completed their apprenticeship – and the vast majority of them do – then I’ve gained another highly-skilled, fully-qualified electrical engineer."

Mr Overton, who is a governor of the college, says it is vital to raise the profile of apprenticeships.

"What is needed above all else is that apprenticeships of all types, whether for electricians, plumbers, lawyers or accountants, are truly valued," he said.

"Not enough businesses recognise the value of apprentices. Some regard them as cheap labour but that isn’t the case in the electrical industry.

"To bring just one apprentice through represents a major investment for us, when you take into account their wages, time off to attend college and the tools we buy them.

"But, to me, it’s about forward-planning. I see this as investing in the future of Overton Electrical Services Ltd – because my business is only as good as the staff I employ, simple as that."

Advanced apprentice Bradley, from Mansfield, said: “I thought an apprenticeship seemed like the best route because you move straight into a working life. I decided at an early age I wanted to work in electrics, so I’m looking forward to becoming fully-qualified and having a good career."

Fellow trainee Reece, also from Mansfield, said: “I’m learning such a lot in the job and doing well at college, where I’m being taught the theory side. Once I’ve passed the qualification, I’ll have all that practical experience as well."

Luke, from Mansfield Woodhouse, said: “I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship. You’re given more responsibility as you progress through your training and you get paid all the way through it, so it’s a great way to learn a trade."

To find out more about the benefits of taking on an apprentice, call us on 0800 121 8317