7th February 2023

This year sees the 16th annual celebration of apprenticeships in the UK.  Each year National Apprenticeship week shines a light on the positive impact apprenticeships have on the individuals themselves, the businesses they work for and the wider economy.  This year’s theme is ‘Skills for Life’.

The joinery workshop at BECK is home to some of the most experienced and highly skilled craftspeople in the industry.  Each year, Production Project Director, Steve Middleton welcomes new apprentices to the team.  They then begin a three-year journey to learn the techniques, skills and methods used by the senior bench joiners who mentor them and share their knowledge gained from decades in the industry.

Here we speak to two apprentices currently in the BECK workshop.

Josh has regular assignments from college and has completed these in the workshop as part of his apprenticeship.  “I’ve made a door, a window frame and part of a staircase.   When I’m making the pieces, I have to take step-by-step pictures to show my process.  I then use them with a write up I do for college.”


Despite having joined the team only four months ago, Josh is proud to have already assisted on bespoke pieces for clients, under Luigi’s supervision.  “It’s a highlight that I have worked on a few pieces which have now gone out to site.  I’m also working on a curved piece at the moment, which is quite tricky.”

Josh believes apprenticeships are essential.  “Apprenticeships are really important.  I knew I wasn’t going to go to university, and I wanted to do something practical.  With an apprenticeship you get a college qualification, experience on the job and you get paid.”

An apprentice in their final year enjoys much more autonomy than their less experienced colleagues.  Max is also mentored by Luigi but acknowledges that their working relationship has changed over time.  “I’m working on bigger, more high-profile jobs now.  Although Luigi is still the bench joiner I’m assigned to, I work much more by myself.  He gives me my own projects, but he’ll come over and help me if I need a hand.   Luigi is a really good teacher.  He knows his stuff!  If I make a mistake, he’ll let me try to figure out my own way to fix it first.  If I can’t, he shows me where I went wrong and then how to do it properly.”


Max started at BECK straight after finishing school.  “As soon I finished, I had my interview and started working.  BECK then helped me sign up with Richmond College so I could get my qualification.  I really enjoy working here.  It’s a nice facility to work in and there are good people around us.  We’re working on nice projects and learning great stuff.”

He also believes apprenticeships are important.  “I see people just going to college and it’s nowhere near as good because you don’t get any of the actual on-the-job training.   If you go to college, you just get one certificate.  However, you get two for doing the apprenticeship as well.  When you’re applying for a job, you can then go in at a higher level.”