Q&A with Joe Lewis – former Global apprentice and now a BMS Service Engineer

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Joe started with Global on the 9th September 2019 as an apprentice undertaking a hybrid Level 3 course in Installation & Commissioning and graduated at a celebration in October 2023 in front of his family.

  • How did you get involved with your apprenticeship?

I started studying Sport at college but didn’t really enjoy it and after a year I decided it wasn’t for me. 

I wanted to make a change, get a trade under my belt and get involved in an industry I could end up in for life. At that point I’d already had a bit of feedback from someone in the industry who gave me some insight into what a BMS was so when I went on the government website and saw the apprenticeship it seemed like a good fit. After applying I went through three interview stages and I was lucky enough to be chosen. 

  • What aspects of the apprenticeship did you most enjoy?

I particularly enjoyed learning all about the different aspects of BMS - there’s always new things to learn when it comes to BMS. It’s been good to work with the team, get that insight into how everything works and just try new things. Before starting I didn’t really know anything about engineering or BMS so being able to learn on the job has been beneficial. 

  • What challenges did you face in undertaking an apprenticeship during the pandemic?

After Covid hit I was furloughed for around 10 months and was doing college from home which was challenging due to it being done over a computer screen instead of being in the class. I generally prefer to do things face to face so I did find that aspect tough. 

At that point I’d been with the company around six months and I’d just started getting into things properly. However, because I needed to be working alongside someone it wasn’t possible for me to continue until restrictions had been eased. Even though it was a difficult time and I couldn’t be on site I knew I had to stick it out as this was what I really wanted to do.

  • How did your colleagues at Global support you during your time as an apprentice?

From the minute I joined global all the engineers and managers around me made me feel welcome and helped me train while onsite, meaning I learned all about new parts of the industry every day. 

I got regular feedback from the team and would submit reports showing what I’d been doing each day and would then get feedback on how I had done and what could be done differently. Getting that feedback gave me the confidence to kick on and take things to the next level so that I was more comfortable taking on tasks by myself with supervision by a senior engineer. I got a lot of support throughout.

  • What advice would you give to someone looking to start out in the industry?

It’s a great career path which can take you many places and it provides a great challenge along the way. It’s also a very technical industry so you gain a lot of valuable knowledge – the BMS industry is a completely different world to that of the electrician, for example. You can’t hope to get into this industry without the proper technical knowledge and although it may seem like there is a lot to learn it all pays off in the long run. There is a constant flow of new things to learn so there is certainly never a dull day.

Everyone coming through the apprenticeship route will bring their own knowledge and skills and that is vital for the future of the industry. 

  • What are your plans for the future?

It’s nice to now be out on my own and I’m now the one teaching. After three and half years of being an apprentice I’m now trusted to spend some time training the next generation and I know exactly how they feel having been part of the process so recently. Hopefully I can use my knowledge of the situation to understand how trainees feel at the start of their apprenticeship journey.

Ultimately, I hope to stay with Global as an engineer and work my way up through the rankings and get to a higher position. I’m very much enjoying my work right now but who knows what the future holds in terms of my role at the company – I would hope to make it to management level one day.

This is an industry where there is always something new just around the corner and I’m always learning.


Written by Tracey Rushton-Thorpe on 29th November 2023

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