Plumbing apprentice with Engie

Lawrence is 23 and a plumbing apprentice, having secured his apprenticeship via ENGIE, one of our repairs contractors in our west London Hub. Lawrence is currently working with ENGIE’s day-to-day repairs team in west London.

I’m a Catalyst resident, living in west London. I was coming home from a shift at Domino’s pizza when I saw a poster pinned up near my home, advertising trade apprenticeship opportunities with Catalyst.

It took me a couple of days to think it through, but after another uneventful shift I thought – ‘Ok I need to find out what this apprentice stuff is about!’ I contacted Catalyst the next day to find out more and say I was interested in the role.

Catalyst’s Apprenticeship and Skills Project Coordinator, Neda Haghshenas, got in touch very quickly. We met up for a chat and I decided to apply for the plumbing apprenticeship. I had to submit an application form with a copy of my CV. Neda helped me fill in the form and freshen up my CV before I submitted my application. I waited a couple of days before they contacted me and asked me to attend an interview.

I’ve had interviews before, so I knew what to expect and didn’t feel too worried, but I obviously wanted to do well. Suzanne, ENGIE’s apprenticeship coordinator and one of their senior operatives, interviewed me.They interviewed a number of us on the day, so I knew I had to show I was prepared to work hard.

They let me know the following Monday I’d successfully passed the interview stage and had been selected for a work trial.

The work trial lasted four days and really gave me a taste of what I’d been doing as an apprentice. I spent my time shadowing one operative, and helping him with his work. Suzanne gave me a workbook to fill in each day to help me think about what I was working on.

I found out the good news within a week. Apparently four people had been asked to undertake a work trial and out of those four I had been selected as ENGIE’s newest plumbing apprentice.

The turnaround time for each stage is only a few days so it’s quite a fast process. I first spoke to Neda about it around mid-August and I was sitting in ENGIE’s Hatfield office going through my induction by the end of September.

I started an NVQ level 2 in plumbing in October 2019. I’ll be working and earning a wage, but also studying one-day a week. My future career is now underway and it feels good. I’m not just standing in one place anymore, I’m moving forward to where I want to be.