Training helps us grow as individuals

Upskilling in timber joinery

Manson Jenkins in the Orchard Joinery showroom leaning on the kitchen bench

When Manson Jenkins was in his final year of college, he was working part-time at Orchard Joinery cleaning the workshop. Now in his second apprenticeship, Manson is making his way forward and forming a career all his own. We caught up with Manson and his boss David Orchard to learn about his journey and the company where he works.

Manson shared about getting started, “I didn’t really choose the industry, I more fell into it. While I was working part-time in my final year of high school, I was offered an apprenticeship for the following year, and I took it. I started off with Orchard Joinery getting my Furniture Making qualification, which I completed in three years. I then took a break from study before taking on the Craftsperson qualification.

“Joinery is a great trade that requires a range of skills. I think one of the most important things for anyone wanting to start an apprenticeship or even just doing something you are unfamiliar with is to be willing to give anything a go and ask for help. Don’t wait until everything has gone sideways, ask someone to look at what you’re about to do and explain what you’re thinking. Taking a few minutes to walk through your process with someone else can save time on redoing something that you’ll end up asking for help with anyway.”

Now that Manson is in his second apprenticeship, he has gained a lot of familiarity with BCITO’s learning systems and the benefits of learning on the job. He says, “In the classroom, you lack that one-on-one learning, and so you sometimes miss key pieces of knowledge, or you stagnate your learning. When you’re learning on the job, you set the pace of your learning by asking questions where you need to and reinforcing your skills in the work environment. This also means you are getting familiar with today’s common practice, which can differ from what you may learn in the classroom.”

David Orchard returned to the industry in 2020 and took over management of Orchard Joinery from his father. David shared his thoughts on Mason’s learning journey. “My initial one-on-one with Manson revealed he wanted further training. He had completed a Furniture Making qualification but was keen to move onto a full Joinery qualification if possible. Initial discussions with BCITO led to cross-crediting some of his prior work, and we are mapping a path ahead. Further training will open the way for him to add Craftsperson Joinery to his skillset and make him more versatile in the business. This is both a great personal development pathway for Manson and a business growth strategy and having trained staff keeps us adaptable in the type of work we can take on.

Manson believes that apprenticeships are great for getting people into work. “Training helps us grow as individuals, especially those transitioning into the workforce while continuing to learn. My mates think it’s cool that I decided to get into a trade and a few of them that went to university think that going into a trade might have been a better option. The best part of this job is seeing the finished result and knowing you’ve taken something from lines and numbers on paper to a high-quality physical product the clients will enjoy for years to come.”

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