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8 April 2016 – Onward to Humbertherm!

TICA Apprentice, John Francis is currently working on site with his latest placement company, CGB Humbertherm. Before joining them, he spent a couple of weeks in the familiar surroundings of the National Training Centre in Darlington.

“Back at TICA I was able to complete more of the projects in my workbook, and improved my metal skills; completing a ‘T’ piece, offset, radius bend, and a reducer. These are things I haven’t done whilst working on H&V sites, but will do more of at my engineering placement, so I’m glad I got the opportunity to work on them in Darlington; where my training advisor was able to give me help, advice and encouragement that I was doing a good job.



Whilst at Darlington, I also spent time in the classroom learning about health and safety in the workplace and the different rules and regulations for different construction sites.

The Dulux Paint Factory in Ashington where I’m working with CGB Humbertherm is a really impressive, brand new site – still under construction. The standard of work seems excellent.


At my induction I was given detailed information about the site and the workforce. After completing the relevant paperwork required to work, I then got issued my work PPE and company coats and overalls.

I started at the deep end by doing things of which I have not done onsite before, such as lagging huge tanks and vessels. I was shown what to do and how to it, and supervised by Humbertherm’s Kevin Clark. It turned out looking better than I thought it would, and he seemed pretty pleased.

We then progressed onto metal work, which is what I hadn’t done a lot of.

We started by insulating the pipes with rockwool sections, keeping it in place with wiring, and continued to metal the pipework and keep it in place with steel banding. When fitting the metal I was in a very awkward position with very little movement. This was testing my patience but I managed to make it look better than I thought I could. The supervisor was pleased and said I was picking it up quicker than he thought. I then continued to metal the same pipe but in a more accessible location and through being tested in the tight space (with my very good quality, but very thick PPE gloves not really helping) I was able to better myself and fit it really well. I made some mistakes but through asking questions I was able to correct them and improve.

Through the second week the work has been similar. I have still been learning new ways to do things that I have previously learnt in the workshop. I’ve also had some challenges, like ducking and diving through pipework to get to some of the bits which had been previously left, as well as insulation and metal finishes.

I’m enjoying this placement and I can see myself enjoying this side of my apprenticeship; being able to improve my skills further so that I can put what I’ve learnt into practice.”

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