Apprenticeships and beyond!

Earlier this week I got the chance to catch up with Edwin Evers to find out about his eight years at Aston Group, how he came to work here and what he’s learnt in that time.

When Edwin left school he joined a college in North London to study plumbing. Unfortunately after reaching his third level the funding was cut, so the course stopped and there was no sign of it starting up again. He didn’t want to waste time so he decided to enrol on an ICT A-Level to fill the gap and began looking into other apprenticeships. He signed up to a support scheme run by Islington Council and after a year they pointed him in the direction of an apprenticeship they knew was available, for Aston Group at the Queensland Road contract in Arsenal.

He went for an interview with Bill Hayes and it went really well, so Bill offered him an apprenticeship. But Edwin had a hard decision to make. He’d been doing really well with his A-Level, already achieving good grades. Should he quit mid-course to take the apprenticeship he had always wanted or stick with a course he was showing skill at and see it through? Being the sort of person who says he likes to finish what he starts, it was a tough choice. Luckily, Bill knew this was weighing on his mind and wanting to find a solution that worked for Edwin had a meeting with Bill Shaw. They agreed that offering him the option to complete his course while also starting his apprenticeship was the best solution for everyone. A real win win for Edwin and a great sign that working at Aston Group would offer the type of support he was after in his career. 

So Edwin joined Aston Group on the 19th March 2012 (as it’s also his mother’s birthday, he can’t forget!) and has been with us ever since. 

Queensland Road was a perfect start to his career, being a new large development with state of the art technology. Luckily, it was also just down the road from his college, so he could go to work from 8-12 in the morning then complete his ICT course in the afternoon. True dedication! After a year, the college part of the apprenticeship began and Edwin was in a fairly unique position of already having a years worth of industry experience under his belt. 

Edwin continued as an apprentice for four years and considers himself very lucky to have had the mentorship from the Astons team. Everyone made time for him, helping to teach and guide him on all aspects of the jobs they were working on. Setting him tasks to further his knowledge such as putting up radiators and installing toilets and giving him targets along the way. Some of his friends had taken on apprenticeship roles with other companies and their experiences couldn’t have been more different, being tasked with sweeping and tea making. So being a part of the Astons team was a really rewarding experience for him right from the start. 

His role at Astons now is in the Commercial division but varies, being Site Manager with Andy Watson, on the tools with Duran Campbell and quality checks with Grahame Crew. Ultimately, he would like to design plant rooms and he’s just successfully completed another course on the journey towards this, an HND in Building Services. He’s now studying a top-up course which will turn his HND into a full BEng degree. 

But why Astons, what made him stay here? He feels it was a very supportive environment for him. From the first day he joined the team he’s noticed how everyone shares the same ethos, looks out for each other and is always on hand to help out. He says Astons has given him the opportunity to work on a wide variety of work, keeping him interested, challenged and always learning. He’s learnt a lot about himself since working here, people have described him to me as patient and tenacious. Edwin is such a positive, inspiring person with a great energy. It’ll take him far in this world, we hope it’ll be with Astons! 

So what has he learnt? Always ask questions, if you keep it in, you’ll never know! Something he’s keen for new apprentices to practice too. He’s now able to help them by passing on the knowledge he’s gained so far in his career. They’re at the start of a career just like he was eight years ago and Edwin’s now helping them in the same way others at Astons helped him, ensuring the mentorship and support in the Astons apprenticeship scheme that was so successful for him continues.   

Thanks so much for speaking to me Edwin, it was really inspiring and I wish you all the best for your future.