Case study - Darren, electrician

Darren Rainbow

I’m officially an improver electrician now, as I’ve just finished three and a half years training, including one year full-time at college before I started with Sovereign. When I first left school I worked with my dad – following in the family footsteps as he’s an electrician too. For two years we moved to the States to try our luck out there. It was a very different experience. I particularly remember working in a skyscraper in Pittsburgh, 63 floors up in the sky.

Although I enjoyed the experience, I’d say it feels like actually we’re more electrically advanced here. Out there we were still using techniques that the UK banned ten years ago! Working in America wasn’t for me at the time, so I came back after about twelve months and started college. But moving around is in my family’s blood, I think. My dad was born in Zimbabwe and joined the military, coming to the UK 23 years ago, and my mum has lived here and in South Africa. 

As for me, I started college when I got back to the UK and then got work experience with Kingfisher. I did well, and they offered me an apprenticeship, and then I switched across to Sovereign. I think the hardest part of being an electrician is the in-depth maths calculations, things like cable design. It’s a ten step process just to choose a cable, I didn’t know any of this when I started out, obviously, it was quite a dive in at the deep end.

The challenge of saving on apprentice wage is quite a big one, but the fact that at Sovereign, as long as I meet my objectives, I have a job to go to, is a good incentive for the future. The guidance I’ve had here has been great. In fact, the next step will be for me to mentor others as they come up behind me. They tease me saying I’m the big boy who’s got to look after the new kids, but I’m happy to pass on what I know. It’s a great atmosphere here.