Harry Orton at Centrica British Gas

Programmes Offered: Apprenticeship - Intermediate Level (Level 2) Degree Apprenticeship / Sponsored Degree (Level 6/7) Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3) Traineeship
Industry: Engineering & Manufacturing

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Harry Orton

Harry Orton

NQE Newly Qualified Engineer


Age: 18 years old
From: Syston, Leicestershire
Interests: Leicester City Football Club
Job Title: NQE Newly Qualified Engineer

When did you start working at British Gas?

I started working for British Gas when I was 16 years old, following my GSCEs. I started my AS Levels; however I decided half way through that working as an apprentice for British Gas would provide me with greater opportunities that did not require any further education.

How long have you worked at British Gas

I have worked with British Gas for 15 months.

What does your role entail?

I work as a service engineer across the Leicester and Leicestershire areas. I have recently passed my training so I go out on my own, visiting customers who require an appliance to be serviced.

What is a typical day for you at work?

I spend my day servicing products for customers, and I tend to visit about four to six customers per day. In the morning, I log onto my laptop to find out who I will be visiting, and go out on my own to fix the issues, travelling to different areas. I mainly fix boilers and similar appliances and check that they are safe for the customer to use.

What made you apply for a British Gas apprenticeship?

I am the 4th generation in my family to work in the gas industry, and my Dad currently works for British Gas as a Service Manager. I came home from 6th form one day and my Dad had seen that there were apprenticeships open for friends and family. At college, I thought I wanted to be an architect, but after I did work experience in the area I realised that the job was not for me, and that I would prefer something that was much more hands on and not office based so I thought that the British Gas apprenticeship scheme would be perfect.

How did the training process work?

The on-the-job training is done as a staggered process. We spend all of our time at the beginning with our mentor, who watches you tend to customer issues. Once we have completed this stage, we spend half of our time with our mentor before going out fully on our own.

What is your career path and aspirations?

I go back into the training academy in September so that I can be trained to attend to breakdowns as well as servicing. This would be another six week training period, and then I will go back out with a mentor in the same process.

What are your thoughts on the training so far?

The facilities at the Leicester academy are great. They are set up to look like customer homes which means we get to practice before heading out with our mentor. They have sections for kitchens, boilers, fire places, chimneys. We spend time on a block rotation every two weeks so we train in each area from fires, to appliances and energy efficiency. The training itself takes 14 months.

What skills do you think you have learnt so far?

Being out and liaising with customers personally means I have developed my customer service skills, interpersonal skills and communication – in addition to all of the technical knowledge I have learnt on the job.

How do you think these skills will help you in the future?

The skills have helped me to develop my confidence in my everyday life. The job pushes you out of your comfort zone and helped me to develop in areas I wouldn’t have expected. Before I started work, I would not have been very happy speaking to people on the phone, but now I am used to talking to customers and being in their home so I am not nervous to talk to anyone.

Do you feel like you have learnt more than if you went to university?

Yes definitely. Being hands on and working within a specific subject area has helped me develop quickly in an area I am interested in. The experience has been greater than university for me and I see it as the best decision I have made.

Have you had any achievements/milestones at work?

Through my apprenticeship scheme, I have completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, which has also helped me improve my skills and has been a great learning experience.

Would you recommend the apprenticeship to others looking to get into work?

I would definitely recommend starting a British Gas apprenticeship to anyone thinking of starting a career in the industry.

What tips would you give to other young people who are considering an apprenticeship?

I would recommend for anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship to attend the open days so you can go and have a look around and research the companies and areas you are interested in.

What do you see as the benefits for doing an apprenticeship?

One of the main benefits I have found of doing an apprenticeship is earning money whilst you’re learning on the job. I also see a benefit in learning a specific trade which guarantees a job at the end of your training as this helps to increase my job security. In addition to this, it’s great to not have any university debt without compromising on career opportunities.

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