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Budget Energy staff on the road to success with Apprenticeships

10 June 2019

A Derry firm which was only established in 2011 is helping its young workforce fulfil its potential by offering Apprenticeships which allow them to get paid and get qualified while getting ahead in their chosen career paths.

Budget Energy, based in the Springtown area of the city but providing electricity across Northern Ireland, is working in partnership with Craft Training Ltd, a private training organisation (PTO) in the North West to ensure its employees are equipped with the skills to succeed as well as earning while learning.

Derry City and Strabane District Council works with a number of PTOs in the area as part of its Apprenticeships campaign (www.getapprenticeships.me) and is keen for more young people as well as local businesses to get involved to get hands-on experience as well as a wage while acquiring the skills employers need.

Budget Energy colleagues, David Vincent and Nadine Melarkey, are already benefitting from learning while earning as both are undertaking ICT User Skills Apprenticeships through Craft Training Ltd. at their workplace.

David, from Lettershandoney, is now on level 3, having successfully completed level 2 in IT, as well as Maths and English which he had left school without.

He said: “Work offered anyone under 25 the chance to do the courses. Catherine from Craft came in every week and it was very straightforward. I started level 3 last September. I’m a Customer Service Agent and the Apprenticeship helps with my job because it involves different parts of Excel that I would not have known about.

“I’m very happy where I am in but it’s good to know that the qualification would help me get a job in IT in the future if I want it. Budget Energy is an excellent place to work so I wouldn’t want to leave it. You’re always on the go but there’s a lot of cover within the call centre so when Catherine comes in, I’m able to go and do what I need to for the apprenticeship.

“I probably wouldn’t have done the course myself if it hadn’t been offered to me through my work but I’m so glad I did because now I’ve built up my qualifications as well as my skills while I’ve been earning a salary.”

Fellow Customer Service Agent, Nadine, is a more recent recruit to Budget Energy but she hasn’t wasted any time taking up her employer’s offer of completing an Apprenticeship. After being told about the opportunity on her first day of work, she is now working towards her level two qualification.

The Waterside woman said: “The Apprenticeship is very helpful when it comes to my work because I learn more about the systems we are using. Doing the course has actually made me interested in IT as a career and may be something that I pursue further on. I did IT in fifth year and I got a grade C but when I went on to do A-levels, I was working more towards Healthcare. However, when I got this job in Budget Energy, I realised I loved working with computers, as well as delivering customer services at the same time because I am good at working with people. I’ve been told I’ve been getting good scores on my calls and I’m doing well so that makes me like my job even more. Getting paid and doing the Apprenticeship alongside it is even better.

“It’s something else to add to the CV and I’ll hopefully be offered the chance to do a higher level once I finish the one I’m on.

“Budget Energy is such a nice place to work, everyone is friendly, everyone gets on so well, it’s a good team work environment. The Apprenticeship has been a great opportunity – I’m the kind of person who likes to progress and likes to challenge myself so I jumped at it when it was offered.

“I’d tell anyone to try an Apprenticeship – it’s good for your CV and it gives you an insight into other things that you might be interested in but you never would have known otherwise!”

Craft Training Ltd is a market leader in many vocational areas including Joinery / Bricklaying,  Floor Covering, Leadership & Management and Meat and Poultry, to name a few. It has a 100% achievement rate for learners that complete their qualification and has a very good progression rate to employment including progression from Level 2 to Level 3. This reflects the standard of teaching delivered from staff who are all recognised as being industry experts.

Craft Training is proud to be one of only three training providers in Northern Ireland either publicly or privately owned that has achieved very good status from the Education Inspectorate, demonstrating their capacity to deliver high levels of teaching and training.

Tina Gillespie, Skills Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, wants to highlight the importance of Apprenticeship opportunities for young people in the Council area. She said: “The Council is working very proactively with a number of education providers, private training organisations, careers service and companies to encourage people to avail of Apprenticeship opportunities that exist across the Council area. The promotion of Apprenticeships is a key element of the education and skills outcomes set out in the Council’s Strategic Growth Plan and overseen by the Education and Skills Partnership.

“Apprenticeships encourage young people to look at vocational options for training in their chosen profession through on-the-job training, study, an industry-recognised qualification and earning a wage.

“We are delighted at the successes of David and Nadine and hope that they will encourage more young people to look at the many Apprenticeship opportunities that exist across many sectors, from Engineering and Law, to Construction and Fashion Design.”

The Education and Skills Delivery Partnership (ESDP) was established as an outcome delivery partnership under the Strategic Growth Plan, to support the education and skills ambitions outlined in the plan. Along with partners, Derry City and Strabane District Council is supporting employers to secure and develop the skills they need to increase productivity, and enable individuals to find fulfilling employment and progress in today’s competitive and dynamic world of work.

If you wish to find out more about Craft Training Ltd, contact Gary Doherty – joincraft @hotmail.co.uk (07841903352); Craft Training Derry  - 02871370384; Craft Training Strabane – 02871 884304.

To find out more about apprenticeships in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area visit: www.getapprenticeships.me