News & Events

Caroline Thomas Q&A

Mar 09, 2017
To mark #NAW2017 we talk to Caroline Thomas, a recent recruit to our apprenticeship programme.  


Caroline is now in her 3rd and final year of her Building Controls Apprenticeship. She has successfully completed the HVAC introductory course and gained a thorough understanding of the application of Building Controls to HVAC plant. 

In 2016, Caroline was shortlisted for the Student of the Year Award at the BCIA Awards last year and is continuing to make her mark within the industry.  Here we ask her about her apprenticeship within Trend.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

From an early age, I was really interested in learning how things work, probably because my Dad is an Engineer and he inspired me.  Fondly, I remember building a radio when I was younger and that would eventually whet my appetite for what was to come and my love for design and electronics. I vividly remember him building a radio when I was younger, and I am sure that began to whet my appetite for design and electronics working together.

What attracted you to an Apprenticeship at Trend?

 After leaving 6th Form College I wasn’t sure that University was really what I wanted to do, despite the fact that the University option was heavily promoted by the college as being the default. Apprenticeships as a learning model weren’t even discussed, and it was only when I saw an advert in the local paper for Trend Apprenticeships that I first considered this. For me it ticked a lot of boxes – it appealed to my passion for design and creativity, whilst also being hands on and practical which suited me and seemed a perfect starting point for a career.

Can you tell us about how you work with the team at Trend?

The team at Trend is well established and they have provided great support for me over the last few years.  I meet with my mentor on a regular basis to discuss my progress and to assist with any queries or development opportunities. I genuinely feel that Trend are supporting me and want to help me develop into a fully fledged controls engineer, which is a real confidence boost.  Sue Sluce, the Learning and Development Manager at Trend supports all apprentices in the business and her support and guidance has been invaluable.

What would you say to a young person thinking of taking an Apprenticeship?

I think it’s a great combination of learning while you work. It’s not all classroom based education and much more ‘hands-on’ and you get paid too! My advice is to find out where your passion lies and start from that, there’s such a huge variety of Apprenticeships available. There are plenty of websites and social media posts for finding out about schemes, with online groups that provide advice and support if you need it.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Once my Apprenticeship is complete in September 2018, I would ideally love to stay with Trend, but perhaps in a different role. I am currently looking at other departments, speaking to work colleagues and friends I’ve made in the business and hope to do a few placements to find the area I am best suited to.  Then I can build on the skills I’ve learnt during the Apprenticeship and feed this into my new career and further qualifications.