An apprentice is hoping to have got the spark he needs for a new career.
Liam Wylie, of Wallsend, has been taken on as an apprentice at family electrical firm Ridley Bros of Gosforth.
Working with Ridley Bros has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to learn the trade through practice and experience of their teamLiam Wylie
The 21-year-old, currently studying NVQ3 electrical installation at Newcastle College, is learning the ropes from Eddy Calvert, who joined the business as an apprentice in 1964.
Mr Wylie said: “Working with Ridley Bros has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to learn the trade through practice and experience of its team.
“It can be quite difficult to find industry training when you’re young and don’t have any experience, but the firm welcomed me straight away, allowing me to take the first step into paid employment.”
Mr Calvert, 66, said: “I started working for Ridley Bros when I was 15 years old and had just left school.
“I had been knocking on local electricians’ doors asking for work. My father knew the Ridley family who took me on and trained me up.”
“As an apprentice I learnt everything I know today from the team around me, who took me under their wing.
“It’s important to pass that knowledge on to help the next generation establish themselves within the trade, and I’m keen to show Liam everything I know.”
In 2007, brothers Andrew and David Ridley stepped into the shoes of their father Fred Ridley and Uncle Thomas Ridley, who retired from the helm of family business.
Since then, the firm has seen year-on-year growth and has expanded to offer commercial services to the region’s business community.
Andrew Ridley, co-director of the business, said: “The aging workforce and skills gap is a growing problem in the north east so investing time and effort in sharing our lifetime of expertise with the talent of tomorrow is a key value of the business, alongside training and up-skilling our current workforce.
“Eddy has been a cornerstone of the business since its establishment and is testament to the career opportunities apprenticeships can open.
“Liam is already showing his leadership abilities, strong work ethic and responsible attitude to working on jobs alone, and we look forward to watching him to grow and develop within the industry.”