It's National Apprenticeship Week and we've invited our apprentices - Jamie and John - to tell us more about why they chose the apprenticeship route and how they are finding it so far.
Jamie Lawson and John Hartley have worked with us here at Chris Brammall for almost a decade, having joined as labourers in 2006.
The pairs passion, talent and loyalty was rewarded with the offer of developing their skills to the next level through the National Apprenticeship Scheme, embarking upon a two-year fabrication and welding apprenticeship with local provider Furness College at Barrow in Furness.
Now, almost six months into the scheme, Jamie and John spend four days a week at the workshop on Low Mill Business Park in Ulverston and a fifth day at college.
Since starting the apprenticeship Jamie has been working on numerous high-profile projects including a suite of street furniture and bollards for Kirkstall Forge, a pioneering new neighbourhood in Leeds.
Jamie comments; "At first, I really wasn't sure if the apprenticeship scheme was for me as it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Now, almost six months in I'm so glad I grasped the opportunity. I'm learning new skills which I am fortunate enough to be able to put into practice immediately back in the workshop. Our work here is much more than just grinding and welding - we create bespoke architectural metalwork - sculptures, bridges, gates, benches - timeless works of art, each with its own unique design which will be enjoyed for generations to come. The apprenticeship is enabling me to be part of that unique process."
Jamie and John were part of an eight-strong team responsible for the manufacture and installation of one of our largest pieces - an 18metre sculpture at Derby Innovation Centre.
Projects John has been working on include a bespoke sculpture for The University of Sheffield's new £81million-pound Diamond Building.
John comments; "The work here is extremely varied and interesting - no two projects are the same and each brings new challenges and requires different technical elements. The apprenticeship is really rewarding - working towards gaining a recognised trade and developing new skills and learning new techniques which I can use back in the workshop. Our projects are based across the UK and we also get the opportunity to travel. Last week we were in London and then in Scotland. I would highly recommend an apprenticeship program as a route to achieving a skilled trade."