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“Apprentice champion” to retire

UK: After a career spanning 50 years with ductwork contractor Hotchkiss, the company’s operations director Chris Beadle has announced his retirement.

A champion of the apprenticeship system, Chris’ progression from workshop apprentice through to company director perfectly encapsulates what a successful apprenticeship is all about. This experience has allowed him to pass on his first-hand knowledge to the next generation by assisting in developing a Trailblazer apprenticeship initiative.

Chris began his own four-year apprenticeship back in 1969 where he split his time between the Hotchkiss workshop and both Eastbourne and Hastings colleges, eventually obtaining a City & Guilds in Sheet Metal and Craft Skills parts 1 & 2. After gaining full time employment as a qualified sheet metal worker, Chris worked his way up through the ranks.

Looking back on a successful career, Chris explained why he steadfastly championed the apprenticeship route: “I remember when I was at school I was directed towards employment via the apprenticeship route to learn a skill for life.

“When I became a director it was my turn to employ apprentices and I must say I was disappointed and shocked with the way apprenticeships were seen by the schools and candidates themselves especially in construction. They were definitely seen as second best to going to university. Hopefully with the new government trailblazers this will now change. I can recommend the apprenticeship route, especially in the building services sector of construction. I had a great career,” he added.

By establishing close ties with local colleges, Hotchkiss has been able to take on a large number of apprentices – currently 34 covering all aspects of the ductwork industry, and is currently recruiting for its 2018 apprentice intake.

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