Lee began his working life by joining the Royal Navy straight from school as a Weapons Engineer Mechanic(Radio) and spent the bulk of his career working on radars and weapon systems– this was where his love of electronics began. After he married and moved to New Zealand, Lee’s career took a different path, and it wasn’t until he returned to England some 20 years later that Lee decided he’d like to go back to a job that he enjoyed doing.In this article he talks to us about his learning experiences and plans.
Family matters brought Lee and his family back to the UK and Lee happened upon a job as a controller for a recovery firm. The job was technical and challenging but provided no spark (pun intended) for Lee
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Lee was furloughed from his job. To occupy himself during the lockdown Lee's wife decided that he would redecorate his house from top to bottom. Lee thoroughly enjoyed this new challenge and being back using his tools.
So He sat down to have a frank discussion with his (very supportive) wife. During their talk they agreed that Lee would take some time out from work without pay to undertake the courses that he needed to pursue his ambition of becoming an electrician.
Firstly, Lee took a six week course training to be a domestic installer, incorporating the Building regulations, test and inspect and electrical installation regulations. He then completed the 2391-52 course which is the upper level test and inspection course that he needed.
Lee then gave his time for free to an electrician in Gosport, helping to rewire council properties there. He was keen and willing, but had little experience – which made applying for electrician jobs a very difficult task.
As a mature student, Lee found it tough as some employers did not want to take a risk on him. He was also juggling his financial commitments - mortgage, children and a big reduction in income. But Lee’s patience and tenacity paid off.
Lee joined Comserv in May 2021 as an Electrician Improver and with the help of his manager, is now in the process of signing up for his NVQ level 3 to become fully qualified. The NVQ level 3 is evidence-based, so Lee can gain the experience he needs and complete the NVQ whilst doing his job, to become a fully qualified electrician.
Despite the difficulties he faced, Lee would recommend retraining to someone else considering a change of career. He decided that it would be far easier to change his career now (at the age of 46) rather than in another 10 years’ time, when he felt some prospective employers might view him differently.
In the future, Lee would like to help to train younger apprentices. He has mentored younger staff in previous roles and thrives in that environment.