Life as an electrical apprentice at Windsor
Matt Harris, Apprentice Electrician at Windsor
09 August 2016
I’ve just completed my three-year apprenticeship at Windsor and it’s been a great experience – with no two days the same. Now it feels like the world’s my oyster!
Electricity surrounds us in every aspect of our lives. Here at Windsor – that's me in the photo at the top – I’ve been able to do so many different things and learn practical skills from experienced electricians. Together, we’ve wired in new lights, run trunking in offices, fitted sockets, sorted all the Christmas lighting and more. Plus, we’ve done a lot of day-to-day maintenance, finding faults and fixing them.
Over time, the team has given me more and more opportunities to work independently as well, building my skills and confidence. The Castle Gate House was my first big project on my own. I rewired the whole building – and it felt really good when everything was tested and signed off.
They’ve also let me work with contractors on projects off the Windsor estate, so I get a broader experience. This means I’m leaving my apprenticeship able to wire a whole house. I’ve put this into practice outside work too, as I recently moved in with a friend whose parents had bought a place that needed a lot doing to it. I completed all the wiring and he’s a plumber, so he took care of that.
When I started my apprenticeship I was 16 and didn’t know for sure what I wanted to do. I’d started an electrics course at college and saw the opportunity for this apprenticeship in the newspaper. I thought that something more work-based might suit me better than being in the classroom all the time, and I’d be earning money at the same time. Plus, The Crown Estate has a great reputation and is a good name to have on your CV.
When I got the apprenticeship I was really chuffed. I’ve lived in Windsor my whole life and I used to come to the Park and the Castle as a child, so it was a big thing for me to get a position here. My family was well impressed.
The people here on the Windsor estate are brilliant. Different departments work together to help each other out. Everyone knows each other and it’s a proper community. I’ve had a chance to speak with some of the Royal Family too, and I got to go to the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, which was quite exciting.
There have been points over the three years, when I thought I wasn’t going to get through. Points when I haven’t been sure that electrics was what I wanted to do. But I’ve had two strong mentors who have helped me out a lot, Rob and Matt. I’ve now passed my final exams and submitted my coursework. I’ve gained skills and qualifications that I will always have. There’s no unlearning them.
So, if I have something to say to another young person starting on an apprenticeship, it would be – stick it out; don’t give up. Also, it’s good to get ahead of yourself. The more you know, the more confident you are to do something. Don’t wait for others to tell you things, find out as much as you can yourself. It gets easier as you learn more. So, learn as much as you can early on and you’ll get a lot more out of your apprenticeship and enjoy it more.
What's next for me? Something bigger. I’ve learned how to wire a house now. When I’ve completed my final apprenticeship year with The Crown Estate, I’d like to work on something different, like an offshore windfarm. I’ve seen presentations about them because The Crown Estate has tenants who run windfarms. I’ve also been offered a couple of jobs as an electrician, so I’ve got good options and feel like the world is my oyster. Watch this space!