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Plumbing Apprenticeships Lead to Industry Recognition

Local commercial and industrial electrical contractors, A F Connell, enlisted Calderdale College to train 10 of its plumbing apprentices, giving them the opportunity to earn while they learn and gain a professional qualification along the way.

The Challenge

Steve Parkin, Mechanical Contracts Director at A F Connell, said: “We want to ensure our people are given the best opportunity to begin their career in the industry, so we looked to Calderdale College for support. However, it was important that the training could take place around shift patterns so that it didn’t impact on workloads.”

The Solution

Calderdale College enrolled the apprentices on Level 2 and 3 Plumbing courses, helping them to gain hands-on experience as they made their first move into a plumbing career.

Les Wilson, Main Grade Lecturer and Team Leader at Calderdale College, commented: “We adapted our offer to ensure the courses were aligned with the employer’s needs and that they were flexible to fit around working patterns.

“We included real ‘on the job’ challenges that apprentices would face on a typical working day and guided them through these situations to give them the support they needed.”

The College also supported the employer with recruitment of apprentices, helping to identify potential candidates and provide feedback through the interview process.


Not only did apprentices gain qualifications, they received significant experience working in a professional role and many completed their course early.

Jake Turner, whose performance improved the most since he began undertaking an apprenticeship with A F Connell, said of his experience:

“Before my apprenticeship, I had very little knowledge of plumbing and the thought of going straight into a full-time role was daunting. Now I have built the skills and experience I need and can put my studies into practice.”

One student, Mason Butterfield, was entered into a regional trade competition, Apprentice of the Year, where he competed against the best plumbing apprentices across the North of England.

Mason, who just missed third place, said of the competition: It was great to share information and experiences with other apprentices. I felt confident with my skills and abilities and I think this came through in the competition. I’m really proud of my achievement.”

Steve Parkin added: "Mason has excelled during his Apprenticeship, College training and whilst employed at A F Connell. Being chosen to compete for Apprentice of the Year is a fantastic achievement, Mason should be very proud of himself.

"Calderdale College have been extremely supportive throughout his development and recognising his achievements by awarding him with a gift is a very well received and appreciated gesture. Massive well done to all involved and in particular Mason, who I’m sure will have an extremely successful and rewarding career in the years to come.’’

Calderdale College was recently rated Outstanding for apprenticeships, Steve Parkin said of the result: “We have worked with the College for over 10 years and successfully trained over 25 apprentices. We are delighted that the College has been rated as Outstanding for their apprenticeship provision. It’s testament to the ongoing support, high quality of training our apprentices receive and the hard work and dedication from the College staff.”

Following this success, Calderdale College will continue to support A F Connell in September by delivering new apprenticeships for the employer.