It is often said that there are not enough opportunities for young people, but when the chance of becoming an apprentice with KBR Gas Services came up , Ben Fletcher grabbed it with both hands. Now 23, Ben lives with his girlfriend Chloe on Alexandra Road in Grantham, and is proving to be a valuable asset to his employer. In fact, Ben is doing such a good job, and even inspiring other youngsters too, that he was named Apprentice of the Year at the Grantham Journal Business Awards. We spoke to Ben, and KBR Gas Services, to find out more.
How did it feel to be named Apprentice of the Year?
I was very happy to be awarded the Apprentice of the Year. I felt that all of my hard work had been worth it. I felt very privileged to be nominated and on winning I was proud to represent my business and be recognised within Grantham.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy having independence within my job and making decisions using my own knowledge and understanding. I love that every day is different, and that my job is mentally and physically challenging. I enjoy building relationships with customers and working within my local community.
What are your main tasks?
On a day to day basis I carry out a wide range of tasks, from general plumbing work to the installation of vented and unvented systems within the domestic sector. These range from gas, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and oil, and are installed in private homes, rental properties and local businesses.
What would you say to anyone thinking of becoming a heating engineer like yourself?
I would recommend working within this sector, as the job is very rewarding and it is a brilliant career path. You need to be determined and very dedicated to learning, as the job is hard work. Having such strong support systems at KBR has made it much easier and a pleasure to work there. I am really grateful for the opportunities they have given me to pursue my career as a heating engineer.
And some questions for KBR – what makes Ben such a great apprentice?
Ben has a positive attitude towards learning and new challenges. He takes pride in his work, paying great attention to detail, and he makes full use of any opportunities presented to him. He is extremely reliable and is an inspiration to other young people, in particular to our younger apprentice.
How important do you think it is that there are opportunities for young people to gain apprenticeships in Grantham and the surrounding area?
It is extremely important for young people to have the opportunities of apprenticeships, particularly with local businesses. By learning on the job and alongside more experienced workers, they gain so much knowledge that can’t be learnt in a classroom environment. Although an apprentice is initially a cost to a businesses, we view our apprentices as an investment, and when viewed like that the rewards soon become apparent.