24 June 2021

You’re Hired: Answering Your Elta Fans Apprenticeship Questions

By Elta Fans

24 June 2021

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Apprenticeships have been pivotal in forming Elta Fans as we know it today, with many of our students and graduates making up a large proportion of our engineering and sales teams. With our newest apprentices starting their journey, it’s the perfect opportunity to put a spotlight on the schemes that Elta Fans offers and why it’s so important that we continue to nurture and support new talent coming through.

We sat down with Paul Greenwood, Senior Production Supervisor at Elta Fans to discuss our investment in talent via apprenticeships . Read on for some top tips if you’re interested in an apprenticeships…


How did the Elta Fans apprentice scheme start?

A few years ago, senior team members came together to discuss how we can evolve the brand and keep it fresh. Naturally, the core skills in the business require us to keep new blood coming in, not just from the day-to-day side of things, but so that the brand can continue moving forward with the times. From here we took the initiative to work alongside nearby training provider PETA (Portsmouth Engineering Training Association), who supply us with candidates suitable for a role within Elta Fans.

What does the application process entail?

Before coming to us, the potential candidates are vetted by PETA through tests and interviews, who then forward across the candidates they think are most suitable for our business. From there we conduct our own interviews and internal assessment, not just to see if they fit in with our core values, but also to see if they like us too. With our apprenticeships, it’s got to work both ways. What can we offer you and what can you offer us?

This is the formal application process; however, it’s not limited to just coming from this background. We are constantly keeping an eye out for youngsters who show a real willingness to work with us, regardless of their background. We have one apprentice who funded himself through college and impressed us so much we had to invite him in for a chat. He’s now finished the apprenticeship scheme and is one year into being a full-time employee with us.

What does a typical Elta apprentice look like?

While we don’t narrow our search down by age, most of the apprentices we take on are in that ‘transitional period’ between finishing school and not yet settled into the working world. They haven’t set their hearts on a career path but are looking to learn a new set of skills that they haven’t yet had the chance to explore throughout their school life.

Some of the key qualities we look for are enthusiasm, self-motivation and patience. Apprenticeships aren’t easy and they take time, you have a lot to learn and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be an expert straight away. It’s important to have the enthusiasm and motivation in the early days, and to sustain it as you progress through the scheme.

What does the apprenticeship involve?

On the very first day, you’re introduced to the business and the basics of what we do, covering the different departments that you may be involved in. From then on, you’re given a gradual flow of information. Throughout your four years as an Elta Fans apprentice you are given day-to-day training in the working environment here in Fareham, and then once a week our apprentices are on ‘day release’. This involves going into college or a training centre where we’ve pre-arranged a syllabus for that particular apprenticeship.

We assign our apprentices an assessor, who will go in once a month to monitor how they’re getting on and then feed back to us. They have on the job training with us as well as regular assessments with their assessors, who take the time to sit down with them to go through work and check how they’re getting on. It’s quite a comprehensive course and the feedback is vital for our apprentices. We understand it’s important to give them independence, but we also like to be involved to ensure no one falls behind. We don’t have a pass or fail scheme as such, unfortunately if you fall behind you simply won’t be able to catch up.

After completion, we offer our apprentices full-time employment. Each apprentice is given a grading so that we can ensure you are put in the right level of employment and into the right department. We want our apprentices to feel comfortable in the role they are in.

What do our current apprentices think?

One of our latest apprentices is James Brindley, who is currently in the first year of his apprenticeship with Elta Fans after starting in March 2021. James has been progressing well on work on smoke and standard industrial casings before we steadily introduce James to the variety of Elta Fans’ products produced at Fareham.

James recently passed his ASME IX and ISO welding qualifications earlier than planned to become a coded welder, allowing him to start his journey working on higher-end projects to continue his development. James passing his welding tests early in his apprenticeship, even before he is due to attend City College Southampton to study Welding and Fabrication later this year, will undoubtedly accelerate his future development path within the business.

Why do you offer apprenticeships?

By offering apprenticeships we provide a specialised set of training to people. Of course, we could recruit other people who have been trained in the industry but we have such a particular skillset here that it’s great for the sustainability of the business to be able to train people and mould them into the roles we need. We are able to offer a job at the end of the course, and ensure candidates have a recognised qualification so they can go elsewhere if they wish.

Personally, it’s great motivation for me and others here at Fareham when we start to see the success and achievements our apprentices, future-proofing the business for years to come.

Finally, what would be your three-top tips for those interested in apprenticeships?

1) Enjoyment – you must choose something that you enjoy and have an interest in. Apprenticeships are a big commitment and they are not easy.

2) In whatever career path you choose, you must be prepared to learn and accept there will be challenges thrown your way.

3) Ultimately, the more you put into your apprenticeship the more you will get out of it.

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