Ashley Ellis has worked with us for 15 years, after joining the Trust on a modern electrical apprenticeship. He tells us more about his early days and why he believes apprentices are so important to the continued success of our canals and rivers.
"There are few industries that operate on such a wide range of assets, ensuring that our apprentices have a well-rounded knowledge of anything they might later come into contact with in the industry." Ashley Ellis
Having always had a good aptitude for mechanical and electrical works from a young age, the advertisement for an mechanical and electrical apprentice for British Waterways (now the Trust) sounded right up my street. I applied for the job and had both a formal interview and a follow up day of site visits.
Job title: mechanical and electrical technical support supervisor
Length of service: 15 years
Apprenticeship details: modern electrical apprenticeship
Training provider: Gloucester Technical College
My interview was daunting as you can imagine for any young person, but once we got talking about the things I did in my spare time, such as motorbike repairs, it brokered some common ground between me and my interviewers. I was offered the job, which I jumped at.
I settled in well straight away. I couldn’t have asked for better mentors than Rob and Neil, who offered me every opportunity to learn and progress. We also became good friends and they both continue to support me to this day. I always did my best for them and they would always do their best for me.
The Trust continued to support my progression following my apprenticeship, and put me through years of training which eventually brought me to where I am today. Utilising apprentices and building a future development plan for them is a solid way to ensure we have a loyal and experienced workforce that can cover our multiple needs.
I have carried out a number of roles in the team since being an apprentice (electrician, technician, supervisor, and now technical support), and in all of these roles I have had a hand in mentoring apprentices.
Having worked my way up and been through the process, I know first-hand what to expect and how to help them achieve their goals. I’ve also learnt that everyone is different, and understanding how some individuals need support in different ways has helped me to get five further apprentices and one volunteer through their training to become operatives.
Some of these have now progressed further into technician and even supervisor roles, all through successful implementation of their development plans.
I’ve also built close working relationships with the local college, which has worked to our advantage when getting future apprentices onto relevant courses and ensuring the continued highest standards both from the college and the Trust.
We offer training and experience that is, in my opinion, second to none. There are few industries that operate on such a wide range of assets, ensuring that our apprentices have a well-rounded knowledge of anything they might later come into contact with in the industry.
Last date edited: 3 March 2017