Barr Joinery: Apprenticeship Q&A

We sat down with James Knight, Surveyor/Project Manager and Designer of Barr Joinery on how he got into Apprenticeships and the challenges he faced.

Why did you opt for the Apprenticeship route and how did you get into it?

I wanted to learn a trade and joinery was an option I went for between that and site carpentry. I initially went to do the NVQ course full time and managed to find an apprenticeship whilst in the process for applying.

What did you cover in your apprenticeship?

All manufacturing elements behind traditional and modern day joinery, health and safety, methodology behind joinery and history.

How was your training organised and how did it support your development?

I was happy with the content of the course, quality of the teaching and the support at both college and work to help me progress. I was able to progress at a comfortable speed.

What do you feel are the main advantages of an apprenticeship? (against going to full-time college)

On the job learning which essentially is where you learn the majority of the joinery skills.

What challenges did you face during your time as an apprentice?

Living whilst earning a low income. Commute was extensive but apprenticeships at the time were hard to come by. Also progressing at times was difficult as there was no-one to take my place as an apprentice for a couple of years so I would always find myself doing the crappy jobs.

What attracted you to this industry?

Passion for making things using wood whilst being able to make a good income when skilled at my job.

What advice would you give to anyone considering an apprenticeship?

Providing you are doing the apprenticeship in something you enjoy it is worth its while. You must be prepared not to make a lot of money for 2-3 years whilst training. Do not do an apprenticeship if you are expecting to be rich within a few years. The more hours you put in in the early days the quicker you’ll improve.


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