Michael Offer, Apprentice Loading Systems Engineer, Central Office, Leeds
National Apprenticeship Week 2021
Here at Pickerings Lifts we’re celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2021 by introducing you to our lift, loading systems, escalator, and mobility apprentices.
Apprentices are an important and valuable part of our ongoing strategy to future proof our workforce.
We caught up with Michael Offer at our Loading Systems, northern office, based in Leeds. He’s an Apprentice Loading Systems Engineer, who joined Pickerings Lifts in 23 March 2020 just before the first lockdown and is due to complete his apprenticeship in March 2023 (although he’s already a year ahead!).
Michael Offer | Apprentice Loading Systems Engineer
Name of course/apprenticeship
Editor: Michael, How long have you been an apprentice?
“I’ve been an apprentice for ten months, but I was studying for a year beforehand. I took myself back to college in the hopes of securing an apprenticeship.”
Editor: So it sounds like you were really keen to get an apprenticeship. Why was that?
“I was working in care, and I’d had several dead end jobs. I just realised I needed to sort me life out. I need some direction and this was a path I could follow. This way I can earn money and be trained up for the future as well.
[Laughing] I bugged the life out of the managers at Pickerings Lifts, and eventually they said ‘hey, look, we’ve got some works experience places coming up, are you interested?’ I’ve never looked back.
I wasn’t going to start due to the first lockdown, and wait till it was all over, but I am so glad I didn’t, the apprenticeship is the best thing I have done.”
Editor: What is a typical working day like for you?
“It probably sounds like a bit of a cliché, but every day is genuinely different here and I’m always learning something new. I’m just not wired to do the same job day-in-day-out. Some people are, but that’s not me. From electrical, mechanical, hydraulics, and welding, every day I’m being challenged to solve issues and find solutions. That’s what I like about this job.”
Editor: What is the most interesting thing you have worked on/memorable experience at Pickerings Lifts?
“I recently worked away in Manchester installing several new machines and it was a memorable experience. I learnt lots.”
What has changed about your role since the Covid-19 crisis?
“Well, as I’ve said, I started on the very first day of the lock down, so I was a bit worried it wasn’t even going to happen, but the other side of the coin is that I’ve known nothing different! Engineers work in small groups and we all cover each other’s backs as far as health and safety is concerned. You have to be safe, because the work we do can be dangerous if the rules aren’t followed. But the actual Covid side of the job is just part of normal life for me now. I have nothing to compare it to.”
How are you finding your studies and work during the pandemic?
“Doing my qualification from home is challenging as there isn’t someone there to show you or teach you properly, but the lecturers do their very best to provide a good teaching environment. I’ll not kid you, it does worry me a little bit how it might affect my studies.”
What do you enjoy doing when not working?
[Michael laughs] “There isn’t a great deal to do in the pandemic apart from watch TV, but it gives me time to study, and keep up with my college work, when I’m not playing guitar.”
Investing in young people
We view apprenticeships as an investment in young people that will reap dividends for Pickerings Lifts far into the future. By providing apprentices with the skills and knowledge necessary to work within the lift industry, we are equipping them with a vocation that will help them throughout their lives. At the same time, we’re helping to secure a stable, reliable, and highly educated workforce, trained in the Pickerings Lifts methods and values.
Pickerings Lifts currently has 11 apprentices working for us, and as you might expect with a national company, they’re spread out across the whole of the UK.
Equally, because we install, maintain and repair all types of lifts, and all these activities have to be managed and co-ordinated, our apprentices have a wide range of job descriptions too. Just a few of the apprenticeships we offer include administrators for human resources, business operations and our fleet department. We also have lift engineering apprenticeships in our business streams, lift maintenance and repair, loading systems and escalators.
The Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education apprenticeship training
Pickerings Lifts helped create the new apprenticeship standard that is revolutionising the future training of lift and escalator engineers.
The ‘Level 3 Lift and Escalator Electromechanic Apprenticeship Standard’ was approved for delivery last year, and was the result of a trailblazer group which included Pickerings Lifts, the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) and several other companies in the lift and escalator industry.
Rachel Swales, HR and Training Officer at Pickerings Lifts, attended the trailblazer group on behalf of the company, and commented…
“This new standard ensures thorough, high quality apprenticeship training. It results in well-trained engineers with solid foundations set for a successful career in the lift industry.”