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Tune in for Sparks’ Remarks

Invisible wheelbarrows…left-handed screwdrivers…being sent to hunt for fallopian tubes… the first episode of our new apprentice podcast with SECTT saw young learners reveal some of the classic pranks played on themselves and unsuspecting pals


Behind-the-scenes banter and hilarious practical jokes were among the many highlights of a new light-hearted apprentice podcast that SELECT has launched in partnership with the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT).


The first episode of Sparks’ Remarks saw five Scottish apprentices sharing laughs and stories about some of the pranks they and their colleagues have experienced during their time in the classroom and on-site.


Aimed at existing and would-be apprentices, the youngsters talked frankly about the ups and downs of getting to grips with such a challenging discipline – and the companionship and fun that comes with it.


One learner revealed: “One boy on my course was sent to look for fallopian tubes; he was walking around the site all day asking people and they were saying, ‘No, I didn’t bring mine today’.”


Another laughed: “I know someone who got sent to look for a left-handed screwdriver – they were away for ages.”


While a third learner told listeners: “One of my mates was told he had to make a video of how to carry stuff properly on-site, so he pretended to walk about with a wheelbarrow filled with electrical equipment.”


However, the podcast also had a serious side, with apprentices revealing the things they find most challenging – including early starts and cold mornings – and the support they receive from tutors and employers as they learn their trade.


One youngster revealed: “I wouldn’t try to sugar-coat it – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s definitely worth it in the end if you get your head down and get a trade.”


“One boy on my course was sent to look for fallopian tubes; he was walking around the site all day asking people and they were saying, ‘No, I didn’t bring mine today’”

The launch episode – entitled The Good, The Bad And The Fallopian Tube Windups – was the first in a series of podcasts that will see the electrical talent of tomorrow open up to journalist Kim McAllister and Barrie McKay, Training and Development Manager at SECTT.


The opening 15-minute show heard the thoughts of five first-year learners from West Lothian College – Fay Greens, Mason Arthurs, Nick Anderson, Robbie Super and Aaron Muir.


And Barrie said: “Sparks’ Remarks is designed to be a light-hearted and honest reflection of what apprentices really think of their training journey. So in this first episode they made it clear that there’s a lot of hard work, but there’s a lot of fun and camaraderie to be had too.


“The electrical apprenticeship is not an easy course, but hopefully this podcast shows how learners are supported every step of the way. As we release each episode, it will also be great to see how the talent of tomorrow is shaping up and taking their future into their own hands.”


Kim added: “We’re really excited to be putting these episodes together and are already looking forward to hearing more stories from apprentices across the country. By hearing real voices from Scotland’s electrical apprentices, hopefully we can encourage more talented young learners to join a rewarding industry which is already playing a key part in all of our lives.”


“By hearing real voices from Scotland’s electrical apprentices, hopefully we can encourage more talented young learners to join a rewarding industry”

Produced by Paisley-based creative agency Connect Communications, future episodes of Sparks’ Remarks will see apprentices reflecting on what they’re learned during their first year in the classroom and on-site, with older learners also handing down invaluable advice.


Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT, said: “It was a delight to listen to this podcast and hear the enthusiasm with which these apprentices are embarking on what, for many people, can be a very steep and daunting learning curve.


“It is good to hear about the support that they receive, not only from their employers, college staff and lecturers, but also from the electrical professionals on site who take time to help them learn their trade in the best possible way.”


As cabletalk went to press, Barrie and Kim were preparing to record the second episode of the podcast, which comes during a record year for electrical apprenticeships in Scotland, with 934 apprentices and adult trainees recruited for the 2022/23 intake.


Kim said: “It’s been great fun so far and we can’t wait to hear the tall tales from the next batch of lucky interviewees!”

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