Electrical Contracting News (ECN) March 2017 - Page 33

APPRENTICESHIPS FEATURE His previous apprentices had all come through JTL so he introduced Sam to Nigel Tippen who became her training officer. Being a girl in a male dominated industry didn’t hold any fears for Sam. She was 21 so not just out of school without any confidence. She admits she felt pressure to prove she was competent, but most guys have that pressure too. Melvyn John Electrical Contracting is a small but varied company: Domestic, commercial and industrial work to cut her teeth on. She did a lot of work for SPP Pumps in Coleford, which manufactures on and offshore pump sets for the oil and gas industry. Her company was responsible for the design and installation of the cable management systems and wiring each pump set. Once settled into her apprenticeship she was approached by JTL and invited to become one of their young women ambassadors. Her role was to contribute to a greater understanding among women of the career opportunities that are available in the building services engineering industry. The programme was launched in 2013 and she is one of 25 female ambassadors across England and Wales helping to promote apprenticeships to young women. She’s become a star of her own local radio station – BBC Radio Gloucestershire – as a serial guest on its programmes, explaining what she does for a living and encouraging other young women to consider electrical work. Sam Jones is one of JTL’s young women ambassadors. New York, New York… Not content to just complete her apprenticeship, Sam was persuaded to enter a prestigious apprentice exchange scheme – the JIB (Joint Industry Board) Overseas Apprentice Exchange Scheme for 2016 – and won it! She spent six weeks in the USA working alongside other women electricians – her first job was up Sam with her mum and dad, her JTL training officer Nigel Tippen and her employer far right – Melvyn John. the Empire State Building! Her placement was on the 67th floor helping to complete a refurbishment of an office block. Sam had a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the building, which included an amazing view across New York from the observation room, walking around the outside of the mast on the service deck that contains all the antennas for the building – just as well she has a head for heights! Subsequently, she worked on the Sony office at 11 Madison Avenue, St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, the offices of Google and finally Madison Square Gardens, where she had the privilege of helping install a brand new HD projector system in the roof over the stadium. She was then shortlisted in the Women in Construction Awards and was recently invited by Unite the Union to represent it at the global Building and WoodWorkers’ International Women’s Conference, which saw her heading off to Nepal to talk about her experiences. Following the apprenticeship route has certainly opened up a world of experiences for this intelligent young lady. What advice would she give other young women considering following a career in electrical contracting work? ‘Do it!’ she says without any hesitation. ‘The electrical sector is a diverse one and you can develop your career in whichever direction you want to. You could be wiring new homes or wiring a Formula 1 car! The opportunities are many and various. ‘I’d urge any young woman or young man for that matter – give it a go and open as many doors as possible. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn a trade and get paid for doing it. And the longer term prospects are huge and exciting.’ Young Sam is a very different individual. She knows her own mind and has achieved great things already. We suspect she will go a long way in this profession. March 2017 | 33