Our Xpert apprentices spill the beans
Have you got what it takes to be an Xpert Energy Apprentice?
Our very own Apprentices Charlotte and James have agreed to share their thoughts and desires with you lovely people looking for the next step in your career.
Here’s what they said:
What’s your apprenticeship called? Charlotte: Apprenticeship in Business and Administration Intermediate (Level 2)
James: Apprenticeship in Plumbing (Level 2)
What do you do on your work placement?
Charlotte: I am based in the office, so I take customer calls. I call customers to arrange services and repairs, deal with emergency call outs and book engineers visits. I help manage the service and maintenance diary and I have admin tasks like scanning, filing and dealing with reports. We use spreadsheets and a database to record and track service and maintenance. I also manage the installation ledger spreadsheet and support marketing with our social media pages. I’ve been on a few services and installs to see how the other side of the business works. It’s really interesting and I quite like change of scene.
James: I'm out on site full time pretty much. I work on new builds and retro fit renewable energy installations - Heat Pumps and underfloor heating. Ventilation, radiators, that sort of thing.
How did you find out about this apprenticeship?
Charlotte: Key Training contacted me to let me know about it. They are my training provider.
James: Through my dad. I was working with him on site when I met Sarah the Installations Director at Xpert.
How does it work then? Do you go to a college or school for the assignments or study at work/ on the job?
Charlotte: I go to work five days a week - basically full time. At work; I am given time to do my assignments and coursework.
James: I work 4 days and go to college 1 day a week. I do coursework and a bit in the evenings and sometimes at the weekend.
What sort of skills have you learned since you’ve been here?
Charlotte: Definitely my phone skills. My confidence has completely changed since I've been here. Also, using email - we had some experience of emailing at school but it was very basic and it's completely different using a real email application (Microsoft Outlook). I’m pretty comfortable with it now.
James: Plumbing obviously (and fitting heat pumps, radiators, solar panels, and underfloor...) Having professional discussions, dealing with clients and customer service - I'm much happier dealing with clients these days.
Is it what you expected it might be?
Charlotte: Yes, pretty much!
James: No, it's quite different but then before I started, I didn't really know that much about the renewable technologies that I'm now installing.
What has been the hardest thing in this role?
Charlotte: Prioritising. I often have different work from both directors and my other colleagues as well. There might be 3 things due the same day that are all urgent. It is usually resolved with a quick discussion early on.
James: Working with contractors and managing professional relationships. It can be challenging!
What kind of support do you get at work and in college?
Charlotte: I have a mentor at work (in the office) and a lady from Key Training comes in and goes through the work I have to complete and tells me how I'm getting on. The three of us sit together and work out what I need to do and discuss how I'm doing.
James: I have a mentor at work who I learn most of the technical stuff from, and there is someone at college who supports me with my college work and I talk to the directors as well if I need something.
Can you give us a run-down of your day (in a few sentences)?
Charlotte: Get to work at 9. Log on. Check the diary. Check all emails (servicing and my own). Deal with call backs and any emergencies. Follow up on previous work (if any). Then I look at Individual tasks and spreadsheets, (scanning, post, deliveries, stock room management). I don't take a proper lunch break but instead take regular breaks. I finish at 5.30 every day.
James: Get up really early. Travel to site. Get to work (usually at 8am). Find out what we are working on, or carry on from the previous day's work - this could be a heat pump installation or underfloor heating. Break for lunch - then we crack on and finish at about 4.30.
What do you hope to do in the future? Any vision for what you might be doing in 5 years’ time?
Charlotte: An accountant.
James: I finish my course this year but I'd like to do more training - get my Gas Safe and F-Gas done and add to my skills in specialist areas within renewable energy.
Any advice to future applicants?
Charlotte: Research. Find out what you can about the company you will be training with.
James: Get work experience. It’s worth finding out early on if you are a good fit for the company and if it’s the right course for you.
We are always interested in new talent. If you have a passion for renewable energy, fancy yourself as a plumber/ engineer/ electrician and you are looking for a career that will really challenge you, have a look at our apprenticeship vacancies and submit your interest here. (We will also have apprenticeships based in the office coming up in business administration, marketing and bookkeeping).
Potential apprentices - are you looking for a future in renewable energy? Call us or pop in for a chat...