Tuesday, 26 January 2016

College days and work experience

Below is a guest blog from Cariad Thomas-Cooke. She is one of three females currently training to become an electrician at Sheffield College. Here, she talks about her first experiences in the classroom and out on site.

It's been a bit of a rocky start at the college, with building works not being completed on time for our super new centre of learning and some timetabling challenges for the staff to solve.

We were all itching for the workshops to be finished so we could start our practical sessions and get on with making things. Thankfully everything’s fully up and running now and we're all enjoying trying to improve our skills.

We've also hit the ground running with our less enthusiastic theory studying. Having our first exam (Health and Safety) made us take things seriously and trying our best to not waste a single lesson.

The lessons are packed full of important information so classroom work on Fridays often has our heads spinning a bit. But we're all in the same boat and it's surprising how much can sink into a brain after a good night's sleep.

All the tutors have been really great throughout. I loved the pep talk at the beginning of the year which was obviously originally tailored for the lads in my class, but needed to be adapted slightly now that there's a woman on the course with them.

The guys in my class are great. After establishing my reasons for wanting to become an electrician are similar to theirs our class has a really friendly atmosphere.

I've also really enjoyed getting some work experience with Mand Made – a local domestic electrical company run by an award winning female electrician. There's certainly a big difference between the college workshop practice sessions - screwing parts into nice, soft wooden boards with plenty of space to work in and the realities of working on site - like cramming yourself into a narrow kitchen cabinet and curling around a corner to find a way to reach through cut-outs in the back designed to give you access to wire in a new socket!
But even the busiest day was better than being sat in an office staring at a database or spreadsheet on a computer screen all day (in my opinion).

The customers have been really nice  - providing cups of tea and one even introduced me to her unique home-made biscuits.

As I'm just starting out I'm a lot slower than the apprentice working there, who's got about 3 years more experience than me, and I've had to have lots of things explained so I could be sure I was doing the right thing. I can't wait to get more experience so I can speed up and know enough to be able to do more fault finding.

I've got another college exam in a couple of weeks. Apparently it's the one that has the highest failure rate so *fingers crossed*. I will be getting buried into revision for a while.

I'm also hoping to get an insight into working for a larger company with a new work experience placement – details are in the process of being finalised so watch this space. If I get any spare time I might also be able to spend some more time working at Mand Made helping out and learning more.

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