Jason Robinson joined us as an apprentice nearly 14 years ago and is now a supervisor in the mechanical and electrical team. He tells us what made him go down the apprenticeship route, and why working with young people is so rewarding.
"I just want to thank everyone who has been involved in my development from apprentice to where I am now as a supervisor. I’m eternally grateful for what they have done for me." Jason Robinson
It was after the first year of my 'A Levels' that I decided the academic route wasn’t for me. I was studying the sciences and in particular physics, which has a strong connection with engineering anyway. I knew early on in my search for an apprenticeship that it was engineering I wanted to go in to, and I applied for a few different roles.
Job title: mechanical and electrical supervisor
Length of service: 14 years in September 2017
Apprenticeship details: BTEC First Certificate and BTEC National diploma in operations and Maintenance & City and Guilds level 2 and level 3 in Electro technical installation
Training provider: Leeds College of Technology, Huddersfield College of Technology
I was attracted to the Trust (British waterways as it was back then) because of the varied nature of the job. I did my research and it was soon obvious that I’d be working outdoors on many different applications of engineering. I applied for the role and was invited to an open day with many other candidates. We were given a presentation in the Leeds office and then taken across to the lock opposite the office to be shown how it worked by a current member of the team and his apprentice.
I was then invited to an interview with ‘Uncle Richard’ Moyses where, from the first moment, we struck up a great relationship. He made me feel comfortable and didn’t try to trick me by asking me things that a school leaver wouldn’t know. He wanted to get a feel for my personality and attitude rather than my technical knowledge.
When I first started I was quiet and it took me a while to come out of my shell. Coming straight from a sixth form common room to a working environment was a shock to the system. The mentors I had treated me really well and made sure my interests were a priority.
As part of my apprenticeship, one time I always look back on fondly is the three week exchange we did with German students. I spent three weeks in the city of Dortmund living with a German family and attending their college and workplace. I worked on the high voltage side of the power generation system for the City of Dortmund travelling around to different substations and carrying out maintenance tasks on the system.
I’m currently a team supervisor, overseeing two apprentices, John Davies and Matthew Hockley. Both John and Matt came through a very competitive selection process, particularly Matt who saw over 120 applicants for his position.
I find being involved with apprentices rewarding particularly because I’ve been there myself. I want to ensure that they get the best of opportunities while working for my team and for them to come out of their apprenticeships feeling confident and ready to step in to a full-time role.
I want them to take on a good work ethic and for them to learn that ‘team’ is the most important factor of working in engineering. If you have a strong team around you, you can achieve so much.
Most importantly I want them to enjoy the experience and take in everything they can from anybody that has anything to offer. Also to appreciate that their mentors aren’t doing this for recognition or reward, they do this because they enjoy what they do and get satisfaction from passing down their years of experience to young people.
Our work with young apprentices is vitally important to us, and that's why we are proud to support National Apprenticeship Week 2017.
Last date edited: 3 March 2017