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What our students say

Here's what our students have to say about us

Luke B, Meter Fitter

What was going in your life that led you to Barrett Bell?

I’d just left the army and didn’t know what to do. My mum suggested gas plumbing, so I thought, why not? After qualifying with Barrett-Bell in April 2017, applied for a job with EON, had an interview in May and started work in June.

What’s life like for you now?

It’s changed pretty drastically! I went from having not a great pay cheque to a very good pay cheque. I’ve gone from struggling each month to being quite comfortable, with a lot of prospects, better chances or promotion. And now I’m saving to buy my first house. That would have been very difficult before.

Would you recommend a career in gas to others?

It’s definitely worth it. The gas industry is quite eye-opening. If you’re hands-on and if you like interacting with people, you can make a very good living out of it. It’s not just a nine to five—but something you can really enjoy, with lots of job prospects.

Luke B

-Meter Fitter

After qualifying for his Level 3 Diploma in Gas Utlisation, we supported Luke into work, helping him gain employment with EON as a meter fitter.

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I’ve always felt very supported at Barrett Bell, while I was learning and since I’ve moved on. Their whole ethos is about getting people into work… and it’s true.

Simon B.
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Lucy Graham, Gas Engineer

What was going in your life that led you to Barrett Bell?

I was a full-time mum and felt drawn to branch out. I’d been thinking about something managerial, but when Jake told me about a career in gas and how women are under-represented, I thought why not give it a try? At Stevenage, I was the only female. But the support you get is amazing, if we ever need anything Amanda is at the end of the phone. She does so much, even when it comes to things like CVs and job applications. I was chuffed when National Grid offered me a job, Suddenly I had a lot of opportunities!

What’s life like for you now?

My life has improved 100%. When I started, I was a shy person, but since then I’ve met a lot of people, learnt how to have thicker skin. These days I can quite easily stand up in a room of 30 men and say, ‘right let’s crack on!’ We have four kids and have never been able to earn enough to live comfortably. Before we even finished the Barett-Bell course we’d landed jobs making £40,000 a year! We’ve found something we both love that sets up our family for life

Would you recommend a career in gas to others?

Anything you’re willing to go for, if you want it and you’re willing to go for it you should! In gas you can earn a lot of money in a little time — you’re good at what you do. It’s a fantastic course at Barrett Bell and I learned more in 15 weeks than in five years of high school. I wouldn’t have ever done if it wasn’t for Barrett bell… ever…

Lucy Graham

-Gas Engineer

Lucy’s partner had lost his job and become a plumber through the Jobcentre and Barrett-Bell. When he attended the enrollment day, he discovered there was a need for more female engineers. Lucy jumped at the chance, took a course with us and was quickly snapped up by National Grid.

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The courses are set out for everyone’s needs. Everyone’s different, everyone learns differently. Some are quicker to pick things up. Some struggle in different areas. Barrett Bell adjust to your learning style, speed and language.

Gary G.

David Cockman, Smart Meter Installer

What was going in your life that led you to Barrett Bell?

I wasn’t in a steady job before. I was doing building work. I had a little girl and wanted more job security. Never thought I’d be able to do gas though. It seemed daunting. But after going to a Barrett Bell enrollment day, and meeting all the people, it all fell into place. They gave me confidence that it was achievable. So I went in and whilst I was doing the gas course, someone from Scottish Power came in and spoke to us. I managed to get an interview and I was offered a position before I’d finished training. I finished the course and started work the next day.

What’s life like for you now?

100% better. My life is totally different now. I’ve doubled my salary, and due another pay rise soon. I’ve got stability. I drive a van every day, doing meter exchanges and always learning new skills. Some of my friends have also gone through it too. My best friend’s just got his gas qualification and now my sister’s doing it. I’ve got a stable job and salary and that’s just gonna help me progress further. I might go into commercial gas or perhaps even have my own gas company one day.

Would you recommend a career in gas to others?

Definitely. I didn’t think I’d achieve it, but I was on £35k within 2 years. A career in gas gives you everything, the tools to go and learn, confidence, the ability to get up every day. Also, a feeling of pride to work with a big company like Scottish power. It’s quite empowering. My daughter’s really proud of me. She loves to talk about it.

David Cockman

-Smart Meter Installer

David was one of our JobCentre Plus candidates at Stevenage. We supported David and eight others from his group in gaining employment with Activo on completion of their course. Activo actively recruited these candidates at our centre in Stevenage. David is now a mentor for new smart meter installers with Activo.

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Aftab Cropped

Barrett Bell gave me the confidence I needed to become a self-employed gas engineer. I would 100% recommend it as a career. You get a lot of job satisfaction from helping people. You also get to enjoy the freedom of working for yourself, and not having a boss. And there’s always more work that you can handle.

Aftab Khan
- Self-employed gas engineer

Gary Nolan, Smart Meter Installer

What was going in your life that led you to Barrett Bell?

I’d just broken my leg and lost job my as a labourer, leaving me not in a great place financially. I saw a course on offer in the Jobcentre, enquired and went down for the Barrett Bell day. I had an interview, some maths and English tests at the Stevenage centre. I thought it was gonna be too long or too expensive, I didn't know the ins and outs of it. But being in building for 15 years, I wanted a trade. I was surprised when I realised I could do it, and that it would give me a career that can lead you to more earnings.

What’s life like for you now?

A hundred times better! I’ve moved to a new property — got a four-bedroom house. I don’t do drugs any more, I’ve completely changed my life. Me and my partner are a lot better, we’ve got more money to do things with the kids. The job allows me to spend more time with them as well. When I was labourer, I’d be working six or seven days a week, and financially I’m in a hell of a lot of a better place now! I started looking for jobs while on the course, a month or two after got my qualification, When I found a good job with a good package, Barrett Bell was there to help me with the technical interview, going through the questions I might be asked.

Would you recommend a career in gas to others?

Absolutely, it's just a better way of life. Once you go to Barrett Bell there’s no looking back. Even after three years, I’m still in contact with Natalie. They just don’t drop you, they want to help you progress in your career. Even during the course, they adjust to everyone’s needs. Everyone’s different, some learn quickly, some struggle. They really adjust to helping everyone, genders, types, ages. I’ve spoken to a lot of other people who did courses elsewhere, and their courses weren’t sufficient. When I went out into the field, I was ready, but lots of engineers who hadn’t learnt at Barrett Bell… they weren’t.

Gary Nolan

-Smart Meter Installer

Gary was unemployed when he came to Barrett Bell. He completed the course and we supported him into work at Lowri Beck as a Smart Meter Installer.

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If you’re hands on and if you like interacting with people, you can make a very good living. Not just nine to five—but something you can really enjoy, with lots of job prospects.

Luke B.
- Meter Fitter

Simon Burgess, Barrett Bell trainer

What was going in your life that led you to Barrett Bell?

I’d just been made redundant from a 25 year career with Tesco. It was a huge change for me, having worked my way up to Night Manager. Wondering what to do next, one day a guy came to fit a smart meter from British Gas. He was really knowledgeable and inspired me. And since I was looking for a new career in a different industry, a role in gas seemed like a good option. I came along to Barrett-Bell, chatted with Natalie and joined the next course. Once completed, the team offered me a job working for them as a teacher. I then went on to become Installation and Contracts Manager at Quality Heating Services. I still collaborate with Barrett-Bell now, taking students on, progressing them into service/repair engineers.

What’s life like for you now?

I’m not working nights any more. I’ve got a better quality of life, a company car, great benefits and good salary. Teaching others has also inspired me to become a governor at my kids' school. Having the confidence to get involved and see the way that the schools run is really inspiring.

Would you recommend a career in gas to others?

Without a doubt. Once you’re in, you’ve got a skill that you can use throughout your life. Companies change, but the industry is flexible. There are always opportunities to progress, there is always a market for people looking for jobs. Ive always felt very supported at Barrett Bell, while I was learning and since I’ve moved on. Their whole ethos is about getting people into work… and it’s true. Even people who’ve got themselves into jobs that didn’t work out, come back for the advice.

Simon Burgess

-Barrett Bell trainer

After completing his gas training, we developed Simon into a training role where he worked alongside us to teach new students. He is now a contracts manager at Quality Heating.

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