Meet the Apprentice: Charlie McGrath

How long have you been an apprentice at GM Joinery?

I’ve been an apprentice for two and a half years – the full apprenticeship is four years so one and a half years to go.

Can you describe an average day as an apprentice?

Every day is a new challenge, no day is the same. One day I might be fitting doors, making up frames, or fitting partitions. It means every day is varied and interesting.

What made you choose joinery as a career?

I liked woodwork at school and I also like the life experience you get when you’re going out to do jobs.

I enjoy travelling and getting to go to places I’ve never been before travelling. I’ve enjoyed going to places like Edinburgh in the past and we’ll be going to Inverness Airport soon for a new fit out project.

The pandemic put a lot of students education and training on pause. How were you affected by this?

I was about five or six months into the apprenticeship when the pandemic hit. It was a hard time, missing out on all the learning and then going back to college to catch up with all the work.

During the lockdowns, I did repairs for close family or around the house – flooring for family, putting bed frames together and cupboard, that sort of thing.

What is your favourite part of being a joinery apprentice?

I like when we get bespoke jobs in, the kind that is once in a lifetime, like making a full gantry for example. In the workshop, I have various duties: cutting everything to length, helping to fit and build all the parts.

The GM Joinery team are also very supportive, both in the workshop and in the office. They’re all good company!

What skills and qualities do you think an joiner needs to have?

You need to have the basic learning skills, good listening skills, you need to write it all down and make sure you get it right due to the level of detail we work with.

What would you say to young people who might be thinking of becoming an apprentice?

I would tell them it can be hard graft but it’s amazing to get into. Once you have the skill set, you can go anywhere in the world. It’s a transportable career and a great trade.  Even if you end up moving on to another career at some point, you will always have that trade to fall back on.

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