They are young, bright and full of optimism. If their studies equal their enthusiasm, then they will go far; we are proud to introduce you to our youngest recruits, the Cathedral’s apprentices…
Excited; a real eye opener; great fun; and honoured were just a few of the comments made by the new apprentices when asked about what they felt about the exciting new path their lives were taking.
This next generation of talented individuals are aged between 16 and 19 years old; all have joined the Cathedral within the past year and take our total number of apprentices up to 12. Full of enthusiasm and keen to progress, these six recent apprentices are working and training with experienced Cathedral staff to learn and excel in their chosen careers.
The three most recent recruits, stonemasons Mirella McGee (18) and Scott Wiseman (16), along with electrician Chris Neighbour (16), started this summer; while chef Calum Benie-Coulson (20) and scaffolder William Gambrill (18) arrived us last winter. Painter and decorator Natalie Keeler is somewhat of a veteran; at the ripe old age of 19, she has been here since October 2011.
At the Cathedral, we are keen to promote traditional crafts and trades, for we realise that there is a growing shortage of skilled craftsmen and craftswomen with practical experience. With this in mind, we aim to give young people opportunities to gain training and experience in a variety of roles: stone masonry, plumbing, gardening, electrical work, scaffolding, cooking, and carpentry. The apprentices have day release to attend college, and thus have training in both the theory and practice of their chosen subject, which will lead to a recognised qualification. Experienced staff act as mentors, responding to the needs of the apprentices, developing their confidence and skills, providing encouragement, and helping them take responsibility for themselves and their own development.
The Cathedral’s 12 apprentices are all in various years and stages of their training. By the end of the apprenticeship, a young person will have invaluable knowledge, training, experience and necessary requirements to enrol to a higher level course or start a career in their chosen discipline. If our current apprentices follow in the line of some of their predecessors, they can be sure of a bright future; for some of our previous apprentices have gone on to win industry prizes and secured promising employment.
Phil Mummery (28) is a shining example of the success that can be achieved from an apprenticeship. Phil started his training here at the Cathedral in October 2007, having already studied for two years at college as an trainee plumber. He continued to attend college one day a week and successfully finished his NVQ, level 2, in plumbing in 2009. He was so successful that he was award apprentice plumber of the year! Phil went on to complete his NVQ level 3 in plumbing, and is now qualified in a variety of specialist areas, including water and gas regulation and maintenance. He is also a Gas Safe engineer and a member of the Chartered Institute of plumbing and heating engineering; and he is currently working towards his Master plumber certificate.
Phil is now employed as the Cathedral’s senior plumber. When I asked him to reflect on his journey here he remarked
It was daunting at first, but I found that working on such an exciting building and with such supportive staff really helped with my studies. It was great to get the hands- on experience that I needed. The Cathedral has given me the opportunity to expand my skills and further my career, in a direction that maybe another company would not have been able to do.
The Cathedral has been training apprentices since 2003. New apprenticeship positions are usually advertised on our website and through the local media in February.