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It’s been a year since we recruited our very own TICA Apprentice. 

jfcrop220 year old John Francis has been progressing his NVQ  and also joining the workforce through a series of placements.

“The last year has given us a valuable insight into the life of an apprentice and the challenges they and their employers face when navigating their way through their working life and their training schedule,” explains TICA Chief Executive, Marion Marsland.  “Our aim is to ensure that everyone involved in an apprentice’s path to qualification gets the very best out of the experience.  Feedback from John and the businesses he has worked with will help us achieve that.”

TICA members have been vital in ensuring John gets to experience a wide range of working environments throughout his apprenticeship.  Between stints at the National Training Centre in Darlington he has had placements with:

Linear Insulation Ltd, Nottinghamshire
Gads Insulation Services Ltd, Gateshead
CGB Humbertherm, Lincolnshire
Western Thermal, Berkshire

John is currently based in Leeds with JS Miller Contracts Ltd.

“Over the last year a lot has changed.  I’ve learned a great deal from the first day when I started as a blank canvas with a vague idea, to someone who is hooked and is looking forward to progressing further.  Having to be adaptable to any work situation has helped me a lot; the nerves I had on my first job compared to now are not so bad, although it is nerve racking travelling to the other side of the country to work with people you’ve never met before!  Having progressed through my college work and had a variety of different jobs, I feel more confident going into any job.

I’ve now worked in prisons, army barracks, primary schools and flats all over the country. If I don’t know what to do at first, then I will learn!  I can only get better, as my knowledge and understanding of the different jobs increases. Over the last year there have been some good jobs such as the Dulux plant for Humbertherm.  This one was a highlight for me as I walked in with limited knowledge and walked out three months later knowing I had learnt a lot and knowing my skills had improved.  This site was very team orientated and being part of that team, even for a brief time, was excellent.”

During the last few weeks with Millers I’ve been doing isogenopak and metal ducting – it’s the type of work I’ve not done very much of or haven’t done for a while.

Last week I was assisting Pete Allen; a long term employee of Millers.  We were finishing off a plant room in isogenopak.  It mainly involved the little bits that had been left, I also had the job of cap-ending the work that was left.  This helps tie the whole job together so it looks complete. It was a good finish as it fitted really well and looked good.

During this week I started at new site with James a fellow apprentice and Jason a worker who I hadn’t met before.  We had the job of metal cladding the duct work on the roof because the contracted company were having a problem with the ductwork. We had the job of insulating and metaling it, and although we aren’t fully complete, we are getting there and it looks good despite the difficulties.

During the week we were also joined by Pete so we can push the job on and finish off the bits that were left. As the duct work had been measured by someone else it can be difficult to understand the way they would have done it, but after some hard work we got there in the end and managed to get one of the ducts finished. However there were often problems – especially with the weather conditions.  Sometimes the last place you want to be is outside handling wet metal when it’s below freezing – but that’s the job and it had to be done so you just have to get on with it!”

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TICA Head Office: TICA House, 34 Allington Way,
Darlington, DL1 4QB