A plumbing Apprentice from Shrewsbury College was featured on the Shropshire-based episode of this season’s popular Channel 4 programme, Restoration Man.
Nathan Blaze, 23, from Market Drayton, is currently doing a Plumbing & Heating Apprenticeship with local company, Edwards Contractors Ltd and owner, Russell Edwards’ £150,000 restoration of his Georgian Farmhouse was the first project Nathan had the opportunity to work on.
Nathan said: “I’m half way through my four year Apprenticeship and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Helping Russell work on his house on Restoration Man when I started was a pretty unique and great opportunity. Because Russell didn’t hire in any external help, the team of us working on the project picked up new skills very quickly. I helped with a variety of aspects of the restoration, from building to plumbing,
“Before starting my Apprenticeship, I was working three different jobs, none of which were relevant to the industry I wanted to work in. Doing an Apprenticeship is a great way of getting your foot in the door for a job and to gain the skills and a qualification.”
Nathan attends college with other Apprentices and Plumbing students once a week and works out in the field four days a week. He said: “I thought because I was a little older, it would be hard to start an Apprenticeship, but it’s been great. Russell is a great boss to work for and my tutors at the college have been very supportive.
Edwards Contractors is ran by Russell and his brother, Thomas. Both of which attended the Shrewsbury College, starting out as an Apprentice. Russell has employed seven plumbing Apprentices, all of which have also attended the College.
Russell, 31, from Wem, said: “I started up the business eleven years ago. I always wanted to work for myself. Hiring Apprentices really is the best and most efficient way of small local businesses to hire and train employees. They get to shadow you straight away and as a business owner that’s a great way for you train the apprentice in how you work and the techniques you use.
“I think being a small business owner is stressful at times and with economy always changing, nothing is ever certain, but having Apprentices has been extremely beneficial and fundamental.
“Nathan has been a great asset to the business and extremely helpful. He worked with me and the team on the restoration of my own home – so I trusted him and he was given a lot of responsibility, which he was great with. The process was really hard work having the film crew there. But they were great and George Clarke (TV presenter) was ace.
“If business continues the way it’s going we’ll hopefully employ more Apprentices in the future. I’d recommend any business wanting to expand to consider the apprentice route.”
For more information about Apprenticeships at Shrewsbury College please visit www.shrewsbury.ac.uk or call 01743 342411
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Shrewsbury College on London Road, Shrewsbury offers full time, part time, and vocational courses in further and higher education. We are a friendly and inclusive College where students feel comfortable...