Principal and student swap jobs for Apprenticeship week

Published:  14 March, 2013

Principal Gary Groom donned his overalls and goggles when he spent the afternoon as a trainee plumber to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

The principal of Redcar & Cleveland College swapped jobs with teenage apprentice Harry Teasdale so he could experience life as a student and learn new skills.

Groom spent time in one of the college workshops, where Teasdale coached him through soldering, pipe fitting and the making of a hot towel rail.

Teasdale then spent time in the principal's hot seat, where he worked with PA Kelly Dale to plan the following week's diary. He met with a member of the management team to discuss progress on an exciting new project, actioned key correspondence and called MP Ian Swale's office to discuss arrangements for National Apprenticeship Week.

Both Groom and Teasdale said they felt like fish out of water during the task, but said they now better understood each other's roles.

Groom said: "I have had an incredible time in the plumbers' workshop. I can honestly say this has been the best part of my week. Harry has demonstrated the need for excellent maths skills and precision. This confirms what I have always thought, that the effort and commitment required in the achievement of highly valuable skills to such excellent standards should never be underestimated or undervalued."

Teasdale, 18, from Stockton, works as an apprentice plumber at HT Energy in Swainby, North Yorkshire, and attends Redcar & Cleveland College one day a week.

He said he had enjoyed the job swap, but felt he had made the right career choice. "It's been really interesting doing the job swap today, but I think I definitely have the better deal. I can see that Gary is extremely busy, but this kind of job is not for me at all. I love working with my hands and getting out and about, and I love the challenge of building something from scratch.

"I have really enjoyed teaching Gary about plumbing. He did really well, but I'm not sure it's for him in the long-term. Maybe he should stick with the Principal's office."

Groom was pleased with the results of his work in the plumbing workshop. The pipes he cut, shaped and soldered together now have pride of place in the display cabinet in his office.

He said: "I know they are probably not very good, and Harry could do a much better job than me in a fraction of the time, but I found it very satisfying and I'm proud that I made them.

It's been an afternoon very well spent."