apprenticeships ecitb

Member Article

Case Study: The ECITB apprenticeship experience

Sean Featherstone began his apprenticeship in 1989 at the age of 16 and spent three months on rotational basic training before making the decision to specialise in welding, which as the son of a former welder wasn’t too much of a surprise.

The ECITB Apprenticeship Experience

Below, Sean describes his experience:

During my apprenticeship sponsored by ECITB I attended Longlands College gaining qualifications including City and Guilds and enjoyed secondments to the Civil Aviation Authority fire fighting training facility at Tees Valley airport. The final eighteen months of my apprenticeship was spent with Redpath Engineering Services gaining vital site based and fabrication shop experience.

On completion of my apprenticeship in 1992, I worked for companies such as Redpath, Aker Kvaerner and AMEC on large scale fabrication and construction projects throughout the Tees Valley area. During this time, through further training and coaching, I gained fundamental supervisory experience on projects and maintenance type contracts as well as becoming involved in quality assurance and welding inspection.

In 2007 I joined R.Blackett Charlton as a Project Engineer whose primary task was the successful completion of the Slab Enhancement Project on Corus Teesside. Since then I have worked with clients such as Aker Solutions, Corus, Huntsman, GDF Suez, Ineos, px Ltd, Hexcel Composites, Vopak and British Energy.

I am now Projects Manager for Redhall Engineering Solutions Limited (formally R. Blackett Charlton). My responsibilities include the management of several maintenance style contracts and provision of technical welding advice to the Northern region of the Redhall Group. I am a member of The Welding Institute and The Welding & Joining Society, was nominated as Redhall Group ‘Employee of the Year’ in the field of exceptional performance in 2010, and have recently become a STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassador, working with local schools.

“The time spent serving my apprenticeship was essential for providing me with the solid foundations on which to build my career – from those vital few months after leaving school, continuing my education through college, to forging links with the first company I worked for in 1992. In this I am not alone. In fact, lots of individuals, some of them life long friends from my apprenticeship years, have gone onto successful careers as advanced Craftsmen, Engineers, Managers and Tutors“

Small & medium enterprises apprenticeship incentives

In light of the need to train people now, and the lack of in-scope companies with the capacity to employ apprentices, the ECITB is supporting an initiative launched by the National Apprenticeship Service to encourage small & medium enterprises (SMEs) to take on apprentices in England.

The scheme, Apprenticeship Grants for Employers (AGE), has been backed by the Government and will offer grants of £1,500 to up to 40,000 SMEs prepared to take on their first apprentice.

For more information on this initiative please visit or telephone Don Atkinson, North East Regional Account Manager for ECITB on 07971438720.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Don Atkinson .

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