» APPRENTICE EXCHANGE PROGRAMME GETS 10TH BIRTHDAY PRESENT FROM NET

British and German apprentices have been benefiting from a specialised exchange programme, thanks to NET.

Previously this programme was funded by the British Council but with Government funding cut, NET has stepped into the breach and provided the British portion of the funding, which has seen four apprentices from the German city of Krefeld experience life and work in Leicester. NET has funded the English-German Apprentice Exchange to mark the tenth anniversary of the successful programme, which was celebrated at Leicester Town Hall.

The programme sees groups of four UK based apprentices spending three weeks working alongside a German apprentice, under the supervision of a qualified German electrician, usually an ElektroMeister, in a German electrical contracting company. The German apprentices then come to the UK for three weeks and work in a UK electrical contracting company alongside their UK apprentice partners. In this way, the two apprentices work together for a period of six weeks.

Stephen Plant, Business Development Director at NET, says: “The purpose of the exchange is to enhance the knowledge and experience of the apprentices by giving them the opportunity to study the craft of an electrician in another European country and to discover how technologies differ and how the harmonised wiring standards are interpreted and implemented. NET is delighted to support such a worthwhile programme.”

British apprentice Elliot Daniel, from David Pearce Electrical Contractors, says: “It’s been great to have the German apprentices here and learn more about what it’s like working in a different country. We have both learned a lot from each other and I’m really looking forward to travelling to Germany next year to see how they train their apprentices.

As well as benefiting apprentices, employers can reap the rewards too. Company representatives also visit their overseas counterparts, so British firms can gain an understanding of the market and business environment in the industry in Germany, as well as making connections with German employers and companies.

Plant says: “This truly is a win-win initiative. The apprentices get a fantastic experience and the chance to boost their personal development, while employers can explore new business opportunities and partnerships. And because the programme is supported both by the Electrical Contractors’ Association and its German counterpart, Elektro-Innung, it is a great forum for trade associations to share information and best practice.”

Next March will see the British apprentices visit Krefeld, giving them the chance to experience working in the German electrical contracting industry.

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