"Grandad inspired apprentice work"

Garet UnderhillOur Gareth’s training insights

Assessment Supervisor Gareth Underhill knows a thing or two about Fire Safety Apprenticeships. 

In a career spanning over 40 years, he has served over three decades with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. A stint in Fire Risk Assessment followed.

Many of his roles in both the public and private sectors involved apprenticeship group management and tutoring.

He currently brings his experience and obvious passion, in no small part sparked by his war hero grandfather, to Xact where he fully endorses the training provider’s apprenticeship programs.

With delivery of Level 4 Fire Safety Inspector Apprenticeship scheduled next month and Level 3 Business Fire Safety Apprenticeship in the pipeline, Gareth offers his insights on the benefits of a dedicated fire safety apprenticeship training:

“Fire Safety was only a small part of Fire Fighter Apprenticeship programmes in which I was involved as a trainer in the past. It was only ever seen as an add-on with a limited time available for formal training and applying new skills.

The apprentices were clearly incredibly keen on the fire safety aspect and were disappointed that the subject was not given more focus. The importance of teaching the public about making homes, offices, and schools, etc., safer, was obvious to them.

Opportunities afforded by Xact’s Fire Safety Apprenticeships at both Levels 3 and 4 offer the chance for more structured learning and detailed training. 
Fire safety training and apprenticeships go hand in hand nicely, both covering the practical and theoretical aspects and complementing each other to achieve the best learning outcomes.

Xact’s apprenticeship training offers the perfect mix of theoretical input with immediate opportunities to apply this in practical exercises. 
This means apprentices can consolidate and confirm understanding of these new skills and knowledge in their own workplace. In addition, they will receive ongoing assistance from their Team Xact mentors.

In short, all will gain from good quality technical training, opportunities to apply this knowledge in exercises and support to develop skills in a real-world workplace. 

On apprenticeship completion, the result will be a well-qualified and experienced Fire Safety Inspector workplace-ready from Day One. 

“Apprentices must be qualified and competent”

My grandfather, Tom Underhill, was involved with training apprentices during his time rock salt mining with Imperial Chemical Industries in Cheshire.

A former Second World War tank driver with The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in North Africa, he was adamant that apprentices required the right blend of technical training and workplace skill. 

Though small in stature, he was an incredibly robust and effective figure.

What he told me about his work struck me deeply and has stayed with me. His words, which inspired me, remain true today.

What Xact is proposing to do with apprenticeships embodies everything Grandad Tom taught me about the training process. It has always been vital that embedded knowledge underpins actual practical skills.

Those who have received just classroom theory will only ever be 50 per cent.

Receiving mentoring and experiencing the structure built into these apprenticeships along with technical training means employers can be assured that fire safety officers who complete the apprenticeship are the whole package – 100 per cent competent.

In short, we want those whose role it is to look after fire safety to be both competent and qualified. Xact’s apprenticeship training programmes will ensure those objectives are achieved."

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