Apprentices get on the career path

James Reynolds, First Bus

James Reynolds, First Bus - Credit: Archant

A father and son team is leading the way with apprenticeships at a local transport firm.

James Taylor. Picture: CIARAN McCRICKARD

James Taylor. Picture: CIARAN McCRICKARD - Credit: CIARAN McCRICKARD

James Reynolds, an engineering apprentice based in First’s Great Yarmouth depot, followed in his father Mark’s footsteps and joined the business when he was 16.

First UK bus routinely recruits around 65 new apprentices across the country each year, with each one completing a standard four year apprenticeship, including training provided by the Manchester Business School every six weeks.

After sitting his GCSEs at Lynn Grove High School, James applied to join First.

“I would much rather be at work – apprenticeships are good because you can earn while you learn,” he said. “I would definitely recommend people to apply for the scheme because you learn proper skills.”

First currently has 10 apprentices across Norfolk and Suffolk who specialise in engineering, body work and electrical application. Each apprentice works towards an NVQ in HGV Mechanics.

Mark Reynolds joined the firm as an apprentice in 1990 and has worked his way up to fleet engineer.

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He said: “I am a huge supporter of our apprenticeship scheme. It’s important to bring new blood into the transport industry - these apprentices are our future and they are an integral and important part of our business.”

Award-winning body apprentice, Adam Smith, based at the Lowestoft depot, is in the final year of his apprenticeship.

He attended Yarmouth High School and studied welding at Yarmouth College before joining First as an apprentice in 2010.

Adam, who hopes to gain extra qualifications in mechanics and electrics, said: “Apprenticeships are definitely worth it, especially if you know what you want to do.”

And an apprentice from Belton is going to be keeping the lights on as part of his new career.

James Taylor, 19, from Provan Crescent, is among 30 candidates selected from 641 applications, to join UK Power Networks’ on-the-job training scheme. A former ATC cadet sergeant who took part in flying and adventure training with the RAF, James will work for the company which distributes power across the South East, London and East of England.

James, who will be training to become an electrical fitter, said: “I have always had a huge interest in electronics and engineering.

“As an electrical fitter I’ll be responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining electricity equipment such as switches and transformers at substations.”