This National Apprenticeship Week we catch up with CBL apprentices Ali Burrows and Owen Ford......

19 year-old Ali from Burton in Kendal is studying a Blacksmithing apprenticeship at the National School of Blacksmithing in Hereford.  Ali spends 6 weeks of the year at Hereford and the rest of the time with us here in Ulverston. 


Ali Burrows 

17 year-old Owen from Barrow in Furness is studying a Welding and Fabrication apprenticeship at Furness College. Owen attends college every Monday and is based with us here in Ulverston the rest of the week. 


Owen Ford

What does it mean to you have an apprenticeship with CBL?

Ali - I've always looked up to Chris' work and the opportunity to learn in his workshop with his helpful team has been brilliant.  Every day is different, i'm given a healthy amount of responsibility but always offered help, advice and guidance when needed.

Owen - It means quite a lot to me as it allows me to explore a much more creative side of engineering as each project brings a new challenge. 

What sort of things have you been doing at college?

Ali - I've been learning traditional forgework skills, through a range of projects, including firewelding, decorative scrollwork, industrial smithing, copperwork and toolmaking.  We also learn how to draw and design. 

Owen - Mostly theory work, lookin at health and safety and engineering drawings but I have recently started going into the workshop. 

What sort of things have you got involved with at CBL?

Ali - Working in the forge on a variety of jobs, large and small, with some of the best craftsmen in the industry.

Owen - Mostly welding and fabrication but I have also helped a little with finishing.  I have worked on a few of the larger jobs but I mostly do the smaller tasks suited to my level of experience at present. 

What advice would you offer to others thinking about taking the apprenticeship route to their chosen career?

Ali - If the apprenticeship is within a job you know you'll enjoy, do it!  You'll always get back what you put in and the opportunity to work on real projects for real clients is a powerful educator.  Also, apprentices can completely avoid student debt.

Owen - It allows you to get a head start within the career you are taking because not only will you be learning about it at college but you will also be working with people that have a lot of experience. 

What has been your favourite CBL project that you have been involved with so far?

Ali - Forged gates and railings for a private estate in Cumbria. 

Owen - St Mary's bench, Ambleside. 

And finally, what are your aspirations for the future?

Ali - I'd like to become as good as I can at what I do!

Owen - To be honest i'm not sure....i've not yet decided!!