News & Events

To mark #NAW2018 we talk to Caroline Thomas

Mar 09, 2018
In 2017, Caroline completed the 3rd year of a Building Controls Apprenticeship and is now in her 4th and final year. During this time, she has undertaken the HVAC introductory course and BS-7671 courses 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 and is continuing to make her mark within the industry. Here we ask 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. I vividly remember us building a radio together 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. I am a practical learner with a passion for design and it seemed the perfect way for me to develop my skills.  

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 is supporting me and wants 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 have been invaluable. During my apprenticeship, I have so far worked with the marketing, product support, field service, bureau and R&D teams, which has been great fun and meant I’ve experienced the company from many different viewpoints.


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 but 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 or within the Partner network.  By building on the skills I’ve learnt during the Apprenticeship and feeding these and the new qualifications into my career, I think I am now far better placed to take my next steps in this exciting and fast-paced industry.


Connect with Caroline on Linkedin by clicking here