Female roles have always been in the minority in the Electrical and Plumbing sector. So, when Sarah Martin opted to pursue her dream of becoming a woman in Support Services, it marked a fantastic milestone. Sarah is the first person in the UK to successfully complete the Level 2 Property Maintenance apprenticeship, and the first in the UK to ever achieve a distinction grade – here is her story . . .
Sarah has always been hands-on and practical, offering a helping hand with the household DIY or plumbing. She had studied Public Services at college and initially wanted to become a Police Officer, however after seeing friends follow a career in enforcement, she realised it wasn’t for her.
Whilst studying at college in 2015, Sarah undertook a cleaning job with Interserve. She was based at the Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) building in her hometown of Buxton, Derbyshire. Here she worked night shifts, earning a little extra cash to support her studying. Once the role of a day cleaner opened up, Sarah took the position and quickly became familiar with the team working on the floor.
She decided that she wanted to understand a bit more about what the ‘lads on the team did’ and approached the General Manager, Andy Kelly and Engineering Manager, Sean Ryan, to ask if she could do some shadowing. Four months later, Sarah joined the team observing the Building Services Engineer at a training centre in Altrincham.
Although the Building Service Engineer essentially had a multitude of jobs on site, Sarah really enjoyed the plumbing element. She had always found it interesting and thought that was something she really wanted to pursue as a career.
Shortly after, she was put on a placement where she worked shadowing the Lead Engineer (Electrician), Nigel Levitt. Although she had never previously considered pursuing a career as an Electrician, the time she spent with Nigel intrigued her, and Sarah was quickly able to fully grasp the technicalities that a job working with electrics involved.
Following her time shadowing, Sarah was offered a chance to progress her career with the help of Interserve Learning & Employment, who introduced her to the Level 2 Property Maintenance apprenticeship, which was delivered by Geason Training.
Interserve Learning & Employment are one of the largest providers of apprenticeships and traineeships in the UK. They have been working in partnership with Geason Training, a leading construction training organisation for two years. The combined level expertise from both companies enables them to provide not only the Level 2 Property Maintenance qualification, but also a Level 4 Construction Site Supervision apprenticeship. There are 25 apprentices currently enrolled on the programmes, with Sarah being the first to successfully complete her apprenticeship.
When asked about her experiences so far, Sarah told us: “Apprenticeships are great. They’re perfect for school leavers as they give you a good insight into everything and so it helped me choose what I wanted to do in my career.”
Sarah found her time with Interserve Learning & Employment and Geason Training “brilliant”. She went on to say how “helpful and supportive” her Tutor, Dean Price has been. Sarah said that Dean was excellent at offering constructive criticism when needed but was also her number one supporter throughout the apprenticeship.
Dean commented: “Sarah has been on programme with me for the last 12 months, throughout this time she has demonstrated excellent commitment to the course deadlines, and regularly completes work above and beyond that expected of our learners.”
He continued: “She was quite shy to begin with, but as the course has progressed she has become much more confident in her ability and with her interpersonal skills. She now has achieved a distinction in her End Point Assessment (EPA) with City and Guilds in both her practical and knowledge elements. This is testament to how far she has travelled with us, and a reflection of the amount of work that she has put in.”
Sarah is now looking to further her education to achieve her dreams of becoming a fully trained Electrician.
If Sarah’s journey has inspired you to pursue your dreams, please contact Interserve Learning & Employment at https://learning-employment.com/contact/ or Geason Training at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options and find out how we could help.