Meet Dean Fitzgerald— Since completing his Level 3 apprenticeship Electrical maintenance and going on to complete his HNC (Higher National certificate) in Electrical Engineering, “Apprenticeships Norfolk” went to meet the award winning apprentice who is employed with “Watermist Limited” based in Thetford, to find out about his experience of being a mature apprentice and what it has offered him.

 How did you find out about the Apprenticeship?

 I originally wanted to work in the construction industry and worked in a architectural officer for two years. I realised I was more “hands on” and wanted to work within the electrical industry. It was then that I attended an open day where I met the owners Richard and William Bridgeman. It was there I saw the opportunity to become an apprentice and the rest they say is history! I did look online for an apprenticeship , but I am glad that I went and spoke to the owners face to face as it allowed them to meet me in person

I have learnt so much more in this role than I ever would have imagined and have even won the JTL Apprentice of the year award. I have also been given the opportunity to travel in my apprenticeship to places such as Guernsey and Tanzania! I never imagined I would have been  able to travel as an apprentice and get so many different learning opportunities.

What made you decide to complete an Apprenticeship rather than the traditional college route?

When I was at school, there wasn’t really much information about apprenticeships, so I left school and went straight into a BTEC construction course at college. I completed the course but had no real work experience and so struggled to get a job within construction. I felt a little disheartened  because I had gained the qualification but no experience for anyone to take me on. The great opportunity with apprenticeships is that you learn, gain experience and get paid! If I had my time again, I think I would definitely applied for apprenticeships once leaving school.   

You also won the JTL Apprentice of the year competition, tell me about this journey?

I was actually nominated by my apprenticeship assessor because he felt I should be recognised for my hard work. I actually received an email asking for me to attend and to begin with I just dismissed it as a generic email before realising it was a real invitation! I went along and was so surprised when I received an award! Afterwards, it gave me time to reflect on this, and I realised what I had achieved and it felt really good. I was really humbled by the experience.