High-voltage electrical engineering firm Smith Brothers has extended its commitment to reducing the industry’s skills gap, by continuing its popular apprenticeship scheme and is in the process of enrolling this year’s intake.

The Elland-based company will provide vital hands-on experience to a pair of trainee cable jointers, which will be dovetailed by a two-year City & Guilds academic course and three years with Utility and Construction Training (UCT).

The candidates include Tristan Fallowfield, who previously worked as an accredited technician for Volkswagen, as well as in sales and customer services for Audi.

Speaking about his decision to switch career paths, Tristan (pictured right) said: “Learning a trade can set you up for life and that’s more important than ever right now.

“I’m looking forward to learning a new skillset, while also getting back to my roots of being hands on at work. I hope that I can have a real positive impact on both the team and Smith Brothers as a company.”

The second apprentice, Zachary Naylor, joins from Trinity Sixth Form Academy having been keen to join an apprenticeship since finishing his A-levels earlier this year.

Zach said: “Electrical engineering has always fascinated me. I’m a very hands-on worker and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get into this career since I left high school.”

Richard Smith, co-founder of Smith Brothers, said: “As an employer, it’s our responsibility to support the ambitions of those in our sector and region.

“If you qualify as a jointer, you have a ready-made, life-long career anywhere in the world. It’s important that we do our bit in addressing the skills gap when it comes to fostering the brightest and best in engineering talent.”

The annual apprenticeship scheme is not solely reserved for school-leavers though and Richard added: “We take apprentices of all ages because we believe that everyone deserves the chance to learn a trade.

“Some of the best engineers left school and went straight into a labouring job but, years later, they might be keen to back up that practical experience with a formal qualification.

“As part of the programme, trainees will spend one month per year at the training centre, nine-10 months on site with Smith Brothers, and the remaining time focused on completing the City & Guilds academic requirements.”