Four years of hard work has paid off for Bernicia apprentice Lewis Yates who is now a fully qualified electrician.
The 22-year-old has just passed his final exams after years of hands-on learning under the guidance of experienced electricians and in the classroom at Newcastle College.
He’s looking forward to a bright future at Bernicia, putting his skills to use helping tenants in their homes – carrying out all aspects of electrical work including repairs to fittings, rewiring and installing smoke alarms, bringing tenants peace of mind.
Lewis left the NCEA Trust Josephine Butler Campus in Ashington at 18 and went straight into his apprenticeship after meeting with Bernicia staff who exhibited opportunities with the housing association at a school jobs fair.
“I had my eye on an apprenticeship at Bernicia,” said Lewis.
“Bernicia brought a stand into school and that got me thinking about it. I applied from there and I’m pleased I did.”
During his apprenticeship, Lewis was taken under the wings of electricians Darren Reay and Shane Bryson, learning not just technical skills but also the importance of relationships with tenants – talking, listening, explaining and building trust.
“I picked up stuff straight away, really enjoyed it from the start and owe a lot to Shane and Darren,” said Lewis.
“You learn how important it is to talk with tenants when you’re out on a job.
“We were out at one of our developments where there are more elderly tenants and they were all congratulating me for passing my apprenticeship – that was great a feeling .
“It’s a massive weight off my mind to pass and when I was told I had it felt unreal.”
Bernicia has a well-established apprenticeship programme with positions for young people across the business.
Project co-ordinator Jackie Johnson said: “Lewis has been committed to his apprenticeship since day one.
“He has shown a high level of enthusiasm and dedication to his qualification and practical learning, and he is going to be an asset to our business.”