This week it’s National Apprentice Week so we’ve spoken to one of our apprentices - Sam Coult - to find out what it’s like to be an apprentice. Not only is Sam one of our most recent recruits, he’s also the latest member of his family to embark on a career at our Scunthorpe site.
Working in steel is something of a tradition for the Coult family for Sam is a 4th generation steelworker. Sam, 17, follows in the footsteps of his brother Harry, dad Ian, grandad and grandmother and his great-grandad too.
Sam said: “My brother Harry started out on his steel career as an electrical apprentice and now works at the Rod Mill. Dad was an apprentice too and works as a mechanical team leader in the Heavy Rolling Stock workshops. Grandad worked in the joiners’ workshop and my grandma worked in an admin role. Now that I’m here too, it means I can get more involved in our family discussions about steel!”
Recruiting apprentices into our business isn’t a new initiative, it’s something we’ve been doing for many years – as evidenced by Sam’s dad. “Many of current employees started out on their working lives as apprentices,” said Heather Bateman, Early Careers Advisor, HR. “And several have worked their way up to senior engineering and management roles within the company, so this employment route can be a brilliant way to achieve a nationally recognised qualification as well as a long and successful career.”
Sam is now well on his way, having started with us in September last year. He said: “I’m currently in my first year of 3 working towards an electrical maintenance apprenticeship. Supported by trainers from North Lindsey College, we’ve been developing our hands-on skills in the workshops on site, including learning how to wire electrical panels. This is backed up by classroom work where we’ve been learning the theoretical side of what we’re doing.
“The apprenticeship, so far, has been really great – I’m learning new skills and meeting new people. The people are really supportive – it’s like working in a family, everyone’s looking out for each other.
“I’m hoping when I’ve completed my apprenticeship, the skills I’ll have developed will lead to a sustainable career on the steelworks.”
With substantial investments already underway and in the pipeline, it’s vital the business has the right skills in place to support existing operations as well as any new technologies or processes that are brought on line.
“Apprenticeships are just one of the ways we bring in new talent to support our current and future requirements,” said Heather. “Our apprentices vary in age and experience, with some joining us straight from school with little or no experience, while others are slightly older having previously been employed elsewhere or attended college.
“Currently we have around 200 across our sites learning a wide range of disciplines. Working out on our sites gives the apprentices the valuable chance to work alongside our craftspeople, gaining the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their roles. And at the end of their apprenticeships, our aim is to offer them a full-time role.”
Hear from Sam and Skinningrove apprentice Jack Cutter, along with colleagues Tony Malone and Andy Clark who help run our apprenticeship schemes, on this podcast: