National Apprenticeship Week — Let’s hear from our apprentices Toby and Oli

February 8, 2024 | Holkham voices | 4 minute read

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, which is running from 5th-11th February 2024, we caught up with Toby and Oli, who are both completing apprenticeships with Holkham’s Land and Property team, in carpentry and joinery.

Why did you choose an apprenticeship at Holkham over another route?

Toby: Well, I thought the opportunity I was given was a good opportunity to get into a place like this. It was the reputation of the company really. I’ve always heard good things about Holkham and never really anything bad, especially the joinery side. I’d say, arguably, this workshop could be the best in the country.

Oli: I was working at a different carpentry place last year, but couldn’t do an apprenticeship there. My dad does some contract work for Holkham, so I knew it’d be a nice team to come to.

How long have you been on your apprenticeship here?

Toby: Since August last year. It’s a two year course.

What do you do day to day — what does your day look like?

Toby: So, I come in. I usually would get handed a job or something on a job ticket. It’s pretty much, “make this, any questions ask us, but crack on!” and most of the time now I get the stuff done! I make windows, doors, all sorts of wonderful stuff. My favourite thing to make at the minute is doors — legend brace doors. The way they go together is quite interesting to me. The windows are quite complicated, but I’m getting there with them.

Oli: Well today I’m down at the Hall. We are taking out a sash window and replacing it. All of my work’s site, so it’s not in the workshop. It’s around the estate.

What would you say is the best thing about your apprenticeship?

Toby: I would say the progress that I’ve made personally in here, since August. I’ve never really touched any machinery or anything like that, I’ve never done anything. So the stuff, it’s like, how have I done that? I never thought I’d be doing that a year ago! So I’d say that’s the best thing. And also, the people around as well are brilliant. My progress and the help from the guys — it’s gone a long way.

Oli: The fact I enjoy it. I enjoy the work I do, and like the people I work with.

So what would you say has been your biggest challenge during the apprenticeship?

Toby: I’d say the biggest challenge would just be the different work environment. The job I had before was just in front of a computer all day, so coming to a place like this is very different —  quite physically knackering I suppose. But I think I’ve dealt with it well, and it’s gone alright.

Oli: I suppose just getting used to it all and adapting to the learning. There’s a lot to learn!

What do you plan to do after you’ve completed your apprenticeship?

Toby: So the plan if I qualify, which I should be able to hopefully, would just be carry on working with these guys full time. I think sometime in the future, my mentor Liam is planning on maybe handing down the workshop to someone like me. Yeah, I’d definitely stay here!

Oli: As Toby says, if I qualify, it would be nice to stay here. You never know what’s going to happen in the future, but the plan is to stay here for now.

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