National Apprenticeship Week 2018
Before coming to work at Battersea Power Station, Obi had started at university but unfortunately had to drop out for financial reasons. He then held a variety of different jobs including bar work and sales. However he found himself unemployed when the division he had been working for was closed down.
At that point Obi decided to try the apprenticeship route into a new career, and registered with South Thames College. This involved Wandsworth Workmatch, which led in turn to interviews at Battersea Power Station and an offer of an apprenticeship with the finance team. Obi was also offered a place at BNP Paribas but decided to pursue the opportunity at the Power Station.
Obi has now completed his apprenticeship and is remaining on the Power Station finance team while continuing to work toward further qualifications. He is working towards his Association of Accounting Technicians Advanced Diploma (AAT Level 3) and intends to commence his Professional Diploma (AAT Level 4) this year. He hopes after that to become a fully qualified chartered certified accountant.
“I like working 9-5 and having a regular salary to take home. I can afford things now that I couldn’t before and I have now moved out of home into a flat on my own, so am feeling much more independent.
“I find my job fun. It’s not boring at all as I have such a variety of things to do in my role. I have been given an opportunity to try a bit of everything to help me decide what to specialise in.
“My aim at the moment is to get qualified up to AAT Level 4 and hopefully start ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants qualification) next year.”
Anthony Ocansey is an apprentice electrician working at Battersea Power Station for contractor Woodlands Site Services. Before coming to the Power Station, Anthony worked at Lookers Battersea Land Rover as a diagnosis technician.
Anthony learned of the opportunity at the Power Station after attending a job fair. Following this he attended two interviews with Woodlands, and was successful in gaining his current apprenticeship.
“I’m now doing something I have a passion for,” says Anthony. “Doing an apprenticeship is an excellent way to reinforce the theoretical learning you do when on day release.
“I also find it exciting to know that I’m part of the reconstruction of Battersea Power Station, which has always been a landmark of the local area and for the whole of London.”
Anthony aims to complete his apprenticeship and progress his career as an electrician working with his current employers.
Shane Ginn, senior manager with Mace and former scaffolding apprentice
Shane has been working in senior construction management at Battersea Power Station for several years, and before that at many other sites. But his career didn’t start out with an advanced educational qualification (for instance a university degree). Shane started out in the world of work as an apprentice scaffolder. Today he is Senior Working At Height Manager for Mace – a very important role at the Power Station – and previously he was a Senior Project Manager with QFS, also working at Battersea.
“Battersea Power Station is the most energising place I have ever worked during 36 years in the construction industry,” says Shane. “The opportunities here are amazing, for everyone from local people who may be unemployed to recent graduates, and that’s especially true for apprentices here on the site.
“I’d recommend apprenticeship as a way of starting off your career to anyone. It has several major advantages over taking the pathway into higher education. Firstly, you earn money while you’re an apprentice, and you don’t run up a big debt the way university graduates do – your employer pays for your training. Secondly, it’s particularly suitable for those who may feel they’ve had enough time in the classroom: you’ll be doing real work in the real world straight away. And thirdly, the skills you build are directly relevant to getting a job: you’re being trained by employers, not by academics.
“There’s a perception that apprenticeship leads at best to a career as a tradesman and if you want to achieve professional status – or move up the management ladder – you need a degree, but it’s not true. Many apprenticeships, for example in engineering, lead to the same chartered status that graduates in the field will be looking to achieve. And you can definitely move into management as a former apprentice: I’m living proof of that.”
Rachel Penfold is an apprentice engineer with Careys working on phase two at Battersea Power Station, and finds the experience of being a woman in construction a very positive one.
“When I first started on site it was a little intimidating, almost scary, being the only woman,” she says. “But actually the guys were really welcoming and helpful. Now the experience of working in construction feels completely normal.
“I decided to go into carpentry at first and I was an apprentice with Bouygues for two years. Then I was self-employed, and then I decided to become an apprentice again, this time in civil engineering.”
Rachel is keen to praise the organisation, Women into Construction, which helped her find her current apprenticeship at Battersea Power Station.
She said: “I would not be where I am today without Women into Construction, because they helped me with courses, they helped me get my job.
“For most of the week I am ‘setting out’ construction work at the Battersea Power Station regeneration. Carey’s is a great company to be an apprentice with, everything is well organised and the cost of all our valuable training is covered.
“Working on Battersea Power Station is an amazing experience. It is the biggest and most iconic site. I am proud to work here.”