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‘Build the Future’ National Apprenticeship Week 2021

The annual National Apprenticeship Week is now in its 14th year aiming to highlight the impact Apprenticeships can have on communities and local businesses, whilst highlighting the benefits of choosing to complete an Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships can help individuals build their skills and knowledge in their chosen area enabling the individuals to develop a rewarding career, whilst future-proofing the employer’s business.

This year’s theme is ‘Build the Future’, focusing on how employers train, retain and achieve with Apprenticeships. At S I Sealy we have a long and proud tradition of training school leavers and Apprentices to become exceptional building services engineers and believe that working with Apprentices is a productive way to develop a fully qualified and skilled workforce.

In celebration of #NAW2021, we sat down with our latest Apprentice, James Robinson to share his experience here at S I Sealy, along with our Director David Stafford to discuss how apprenticeships can future-proof workforces and boost careers.


Assistant Electrical Engineer, James Robinson

How did you hear about this apprenticeship?

I first heard that S I Sealy was looking for an Apprentice as my dad works for the Practice as a Principal Electrical Engineer. I considered the job role and decided this was something that I would really like to do and then applied. When I first began my Apprenticeship I was providing both mechanical and electrical engineering design.  This allowed me to gain real insight into building services as a whole. I later realised my passion was in electrical engineering design and began to focus on electrical systems.

Why did you choose to take an apprenticeship?

I chose to do an apprenticeship instead of A levels because it allows you to gain practical skills, earn money and learn simultaneously. It enables you to learn from senior members of the team and provides opportunities to develop a future career.

What did you study?

I am currently studying for a Pearson HNC Level 4 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (Building Services Engineering). I have just completed my EAL Level 3 NVQ in Building Services Engineering Technology and Project Management, along with the Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment (Building Services Engineering) and the City & Guilds Functional ICT skills Level 2.

What is the impact of your apprenticeship training, and how will this help you achieve your career goals?

This Apprenticeship has not only developed my skills and knowledge in electrical engineering design, but it has also taught me more about the construction industry as a whole. The things I have learnt include the different RIBA stages as well as BREEAM assessments and the principles of decarbonisation.  These are all aspects that if I had not undertaken my Apprenticeship at S I Sealy, I may not have been exposed to.  This knowledge also helps develop my skills as an electrical engineer, as I am more aware of the overall aspects of the construction industry. This allows me to co-ordinate my designs correctly and collaboratively with the rest of the Design Team.

What do you plan to do once you have completed your apprenticeship?

My next step is to finish my HNC qualification, then I plan to go to university to advance my building services qualifications. Another goal of mine is to become a chartered engineer with CIBSE in the next few years.

Any advice for people looking to do an apprenticeship in your field?

My advice for anyone who is considering an Apprenticeship is to research the career and industry to make sure it is the right fit for you and then go for it. Apprenticeships are great for learning and developing skills on the job. Working alongside more senior members of the team, benefitting from their knowledge and experience, can not be learned in a classroom alone.


Director, David Stafford

What positive effect do apprenticeships have on business?

We have a strong tradition within our business of growing our own talent.  Over the last 10 years, we have supported 12 engineers in achieving formal qualifications.  As a specialist building services engineering design consultancy with 30 engineers, this is a high proportion of our workforce.  A number of these engineers have been Apprentices.  Apprentices bring a real hunger to learn and develop, which invigorates more experienced engineers and helps to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

How can apprenticeships futureproof workforces and boost careers?

We welcome all routes which encourage new, bright talent to consider a career in building services engineering design and indeed our company.  Apprenticeships are one such route.  Encouraging such talent will help to futureproof our industry and our workforce.  At the same an Apprenticeship helps an individual identify and navigate a career, enabling the individual to not only understand academic principles but also to apply those principles to real-life projects.  During the Apprenticeship, the individual not only grows in terms of their skills and knowledge in relation to their chosen vocation but also in terms of their employability, approach to team-working and their confidence.

What happens once the apprenticeship programme finishes?

Where the individual has done well during their Apprenticeship, we offer them a permanent role at S I Sealy with a structured career path and a focus on continual development.

How can someone apply for an apprenticeship at S I Sealy?

To discuss Apprenticeship opportunities at S I Sealy, in the first instance email d.stafford@sisealy.co.uk with your CV and why you are interested in a career in building services engineering design.