A Cornish apprentice is one of just three people in the running to be crowned national Apprentice of the Year.
George Autie, 25 from Helston, has been invited by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to attend a celebratory reception in Westminster and will find out if he has been victorious at the AoC conference in November.
Working as an electrician for specialist overwater drilling and marine construction contractor, Fugro, George said he was “very proud” to be considered for the award.
“I was working at a supermarket having just come back from travelling when I started the apprenticeship with Fugro Seacore as it was named at the time,” he explained.
“Fugro is renowned locally as one of the best employers around, with great career opportunities so it was always something that was hugely attractive to me.”
George said the favourite part of the job is “without a doubt the opportunity to travel with work and see the equipment we build here in Falmouth being used all over the world”.
Skilled in workshop plant and industrial fixed installations and PAC testing, George has mentored work experience placements and is part of the 5S Group which was vital for the business attaining fit for nuclear status.
He has worked in Holland and Romania where he was the lead electrician for systems and overhauling rigs. George’s fast fault finding saved the company valuable time on site, where down time on vessels can run into thousands of pounds.
And George wouldn’t hesitate in recommending taking an apprenticeship to people.
“From my own experience, it’s the best route into a skilled career,” he continued.
“With the advantage of being paid whilst training, I would advise anybody considering it to take an apprenticeship. My classes at Cornwall College are good and definitely challenging at times. I like the blend of hands on training with classroom learning and particularly at Cornwall College, the tutors have been very good for me and my education.”
Achieving as an apprentice
Fugro Workshop Manager Danny Worrall said he “can’t praise George enough”.
“He has consistently overachieved and the workshops are proud of his recent personal achievements,” he continued.
“He has been given the opportunity to develop which is important and he’s been taken out of his comfort zone on many occasions where he has demonstrated his technical ability and understanding of critical works and how to manage them.”
Apprenticeships have seen a dramatic rise in popularity as a direct route into a career, something Danny said he could relate to.
“Apprenticeships are an excellent way of training staff to cater for the business needs,” he asserted.
“When the programme is complete we have an employee who is more than competent in the role and ready for the next stage of their career. Cornwall College provides a superb support to our in house training and ensure that our apprentices complete all the academic and practical tests required. They also offer other solutions to training when requested, while options for funding have been particularly helpful.”
George said he would like to establish himself in the electrical department at Fugro “then going into a management position or an electrical engineering role within the company”.
“I would like to thank Danny Worrall for taking me on as workshop manager and Ben Stidwell for teaching me and putting a lot of time into me as electrical supervisor. Also I would like to thank all the electrical tutors at Cornwall College again, they have been great.”
It has already been a successful year for George, who won CCB’s (Cornwall College Business’s) Excellence in Business Training Individual Achievement Award 2017.
If you would like to find out more about apprenticeships in the South West, please visit www.cornwall.ac.uk/apprenticeship-hub or call 0330 123 4785.