Owner of LW Plumbing and Gas, Darlington, Leon Williams has turned to Darlington College to help swell his growing business with an apprentice of his own.
Having initially enrolled at Darlington College after leaving school to become a mechanic Leon, 28, of Darlington, completed his apprenticeship and began working full time in the industry.
But after working in a garage environment day after day Leon soon realised that he wanted a job that involved getting out and about while still working with his hands.
So trading spark plugs for bath plugs he returned to Darlington College for a second time undertaking a four year plumbing and gas apprenticeship before setting up his own company in 2014.
“I knew the standard expected of apprentices at Darlington College, having been one myself twice, so it was the obvious choice when it came to looking for someone to help me with my own business,” said Leon, 28, of Darlington.
“I’d had a few lads helping me out at the beginning but I wanted someone that I could pass on my skills to so I asked one of the college tutors if they had anyone that they could recommend for an apprenticeship.
“Michael Edwards has been with me for six months now and has picked everything up really quickly.
“He’s already gained his City & Guilds Levels 2 & 3 diploma at college and with me is using what he’s learnt in real ‘on the job’ situations whilst still working towards his NVQ2 – it’s also really nice to have someone to work alongside everyday.”
Michael, 18, of Sedgefield, who is hoping to continue his studies to gain a NVQ Level 3 whilst working with Leon, added: “I’ve always fancied being a property developer so I wanted to learn a trade that would be useful for that and one that I would enjoy, so I chose plumbing.
“I had enrolled on an electronics course, but just one month into that the opportunity to work with Leon came about.
“Now I’m putting my studies into practice and learning all the practical skills needed for the job.
“Apprenticeships are a great way to get the hands on experience without the pressure of going straight into a full time job and being expected to do everything straight away. I’m earning while I’m learning and really enjoying it.”
For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.