Electrician follows in family footsteps

by Kerry Burlison

Bright spark James Schofield has joined South Shields firm Schofield Electricals after completing an Electrical Technician apprenticeship with TDR Training. Following in the footsteps of his father John Schofield, Managing Director of Schofield Electricals and grandfather David Schofield, founder of the third-generation family-run firm on Rekendyke Industrial Estate, 20-year-old James is next in line to take over the business.

John Schofield, 48, said: “James makes me really proud. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after school so I advised him to do an apprenticeship and get a qualification that he will have for the rest of his life. TDR Training came highly recommended and James has taken really well to the training with them.”

TDR Training helps people develop an enthusiasm for a lifelong career in engineering and manufacturing, science, business, customer service and management by providing encouragement, support, and guidance to help them achieve their full potential. Wayne Bond, 45 from Prudhoe, a TDR training coordinator, was appointed to work with James and conducted regular onsite visits to support him while ensuring he was progressing and competent in the job.

James said: “Wayne is great. He is always happy for us to call and ask things. He’s a proper laugh and like one of the lads but he is serious when he needs to be. He’s helped push me through the apprenticeship and I’ve really enjoyed it, the best part has been the work experience side.”

Ian Young, Managing Director of TDR Training said: “I’m delighted that we’ve played a part in this story. Passing the baton on is a great thing. We’ve worked with James to get him to the level he needs to be to contribute to the success of the business. A big part of his success is due to being part of a family-run company that’s invested in a professional training programme.”

Schofield Electricals has come a long way since David started the business in 1983. The firm has evolved into providing services to commercial business only, and this is something James thrives on. “It’s different to working on domestic jobs, what we are doing is bespoke and I like putting my mind to that,” said James, whose start in the workplace is a complete contrast to his grandfather’s. David, 69, served his time in Harton Pit as an electrical engineer before setting up the company during the pit strike.

David said: “Apprenticeships have changed since my day in the pit, it was very dark down there but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I know this might sound daft but as a kid, I enjoyed building camps, so when I was down the pit it was like a big camp but as I got older it wasn’t as much fun. I am so proud of James. It’s great to see him working with John and it’ll be great to see him take the reins one day.”

To help James on his journey to becoming managing director John has already started to make key changes in the business. He said: “James is seeing from working with me the potential opportunities ahead of him. I want to help push him along as much as possible. I’ve just changed the business from a sole trader to a limited company and introduced more holidays and an annual bonus scheme to help incentivise the team.”

John is planning to take a step back from the business in five to ten years but before he does he’s educating his staff on business management. “I am trying to get them into the mindset that the more we can increase the profit the more of a share they will get of it. If you do the job quicker or buy just three screws instead of ten then the small savings will add up. I am looking to giving James more responsibility so he can manage the business and hire more apprentices as the business grows. I want him to be thinking in five or even ten years’ time that he could be sitting in the boss’s chair. By then I hope to be sitting on a beach somewhere.”

James is planning to sign up to a leadership and management apprenticeship with TDR Training to develop his skills further. He said: “I’m excited and a bit nervous about taking over. I’ve got a lot more to learn so it’ll take a few more years until my dad can go and sit on a beach.”

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