Meet Herbie Thom-Cole – Artisan Plastercraft apprentice.
Herbie was not enjoying his level 3 sports course at college so decided to look for other opportunities. The 16-year-old found a vacancy for an apprenticeship at Artisan Plastercraft and despite not knowing anything about the industry, he took the leap and has not looked back. Here, we caught up with Herbie just one month into his apprenticeship and he told us just how much he’s learnt and why he’s now looking forward to a career in plastering.
“I have always been very practical, I’m always hands on and not really a theory person,” he said. “When I saw what they do, I knew this existed but never really thought about how it was produced or maintained – I knew these patterns were made but I didn’t know how.
“I was interested in this apprenticeship because they are working with historical buildings, it’s not a basic trade, it was something a bit different that interested me. “I had an idea what I’d be doing but I didn’t know what it was going to be like – I came in blind, not knowing anything and it was daunting but already in the space of a month I have learnt so much. “They throw you in at the deep end a little but messing up isn’t important, they just want you to learn and that is the important bit.” Herbie is already casting on his own and managing small output by himself. The course he was doing wasn’t interesting to him, but now he talks about his work and his friends are intrigued to hear about it and see pictures of it too.
Pride in his work
He added: “Every day I’m not stuck doing one job, I’m learning a lot of different things and it is never boring. “I’m already getting a little bit of independence about some things, it shows how well I am progressing. “I’m really proud of what I’m doing. You do a cast and see it taken off and know that will be going on a ceiling somewhere important. It is cool.”
Herbie said he enjoyed going to Artisan to work each day as he has a great time and it is a supportive environment. In fact, he can picture himself there for a long time. “Everyone is really fun and helpful, it is a good atmosphere here,” he said.
“I’m sticking with it, it is really good, if I learn for a few more years the money can be quite good too. “I just want to carry on learning and getting better, gain more knowledge and work on more intricate designs. With that comes more opportunities and this industry is linked with movie sets so there are many exciting possibilities.”
Confidence to change
Herbie’s advice to anyone who is considering changing their career path and taking the leap to do an apprenticeship is ‘do it’. He said: “Back then I could never see myself doing this kind of work, I thought I would go down the basic trade routes but I’m so glad I did find this apprenticeship, apply and get it. “I wasn’t 100% on what I wanted to do, I thought I would just do the sports course and see what happened. “I spoke to my parents and we all agreed that it is a great skill that you’ll have for the rest of your life, whatever you do, as well as earning money. “It is important for people to think about.”