Sam Jones, 33 and from Pontypridd in south Wales, joined Wales & West Utilities as an apprentice in 2015. He is part of the team who work to maintain the gas network, repairing gas leaks and laying new supply pipes to heat homes and power businesses.

Sam is already making a mark in the gas industry after winning the Welsh Government Apprentice of the Year award in 2017. He wanted to join the gas industry from a young age and explains his motivations:

My Dad had worked as a gas engineer for as long as I remember and it was after a ‘bring your dad to school day’ that I knew that I wanted to be one too!

Before starting his apprenticeship, Sam was in full time employment for 13 years but never gave up on his dream of working in the gas industry

Starting an apprenticeship in my thirties meant changing my lifestyle. But I knew I had made the right decision to achieve my goal. The move to become an apprentice was the right one for my long-term career prospects

Sam was initially worried that starting an apprenticeship later in life may have meant that he was at a disadvantage to younger colleagues; however he now believes it helps him to see things clearly.

After leaving school and starting employment, I found myself working long and unsociable hours in a job I didn’t enjoy. I was disillusioned and felt my career had stalled before it had even started. There seemed little opportunity to progress my skills and knowledge and I soon became bored. It was then that I began looking for a role that would really push me and help me gain greater confidence.

Applying for this apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to start work with a company where I feel I can progress and work alongside like-minded colleagues – playing an important role in keeping south Wales cooking on gas!

To be offered such a coveted apprenticeship was an all-time high and I do remind myself regularly of the opportunities Wales & West Utilities has, and continues, to offer. I am very excited about what the future has in store.