Twenty year old Alfie Steadman is in his second year of a two year apprenticeship with The Clancy Group and learning hands on about drainage repairs. Starting at the bottom and working his way up doesn’t faze Alfie and in just a year he feels he has come far and can undertake a number of jobs on his own already.
Alfie hasn’t had an easy path in his secondary education and route to an apprenticeship, but speaking to him now his confidence, knowledge, and experience of his role shine through. Alfie is quite simply a really good example of why you should never give up.
Alfie comments: “My school history isn’t the best. I got kicked out of school in Year 10 and I went to a behaviour school and that’s when I started getting my hands on learning – from bricklaying to carpentry and I thought I could see myself doing something like this for the rest of my life. After school I got the GCSEs I needed and went to college and started off doing electrics but that wasn’t for me and then I switched to carpentry. I wasn’t in the right mind space at that time so I and left, but then came back and started bricklaying which was ok. But then I heard about this apprenticeship course and spoke to someone about it and it wasn’t too late to change over so I thought I would go for it and here I am now after a year and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
Alfie loves working outside and being in a different place every day and the fact that no job or day is the same. He also really enjoys working with new technologies. The role of technology in Alfie’s day to day job is now critical and something which he feels is best learned on the job. Alfie explains: “We use robotics and technology to patch or line pipes. To patch a pipe, we effectively put a resin sheet into a pipe which is then inflated to form a seal to the shape of the drainage pipe. This means pipes can be repaired quickly, without having to dig and re-fill holes and more pipes can be repaired faster and for less cost.”
“This technology also means that more repairs can be done at once. Lining allows us to repair around 90m of pipes per hour using a hot UV light and a robotic arm which pushes the resin into place. The UV light cures it as it goes into place at the right temperature. This is used for mainly old pipes or when digging isn’t an easy option. This trenchless technology keeps disruption to a minimum and our customers and their neighbours happy. It would be hard to learn this just at college as its very hands on and the people I work with are good at answering my questions.”
Thinking about the future Alfie is confident. “The world’s my oyster when I’ve finished as I’ll have the qualifications and the experience and I like it and I plan to stay in this industry and move up as far as possible. That’s my goal, trying to reach the top.”
“If I was talking to anyone about starting an apprenticeship I would say go for it. It’s a learning curve starting at the bottom , you get all the support you need and no one expects you to be able to do everything straight away and it’s good to get your foot in the door. Apprenticeships are definitely worth it. I love it now and when I finish I’ll be doing something I love for even more money and I’ll have the qualifications and skills to go with it.”