Michael Woodiwiss - in profile
"I’m happy at the Countess and I want to stay long term because they’ve invested time in me and I want to do some good work for them in return."
Michael Woodiwiss, 30, works in Estates as an apprentice electrician
Can you tell me a bit about your role?
It’s a range of everything from new installations to maintaining a lot of what’s already installed, so there’s regular maintenance and repair work of everything from power circuits to lighting. We do a lot of different bits.
How long have you been at the Countess?
I started off as a porter and that was about 10 years ago. Then I moved into the Estates department about four years ago.
Was that on the apprenticeship?
I originally started off as a maintenance assistant but then I moved on to the apprenticeship. Originally I was doing a college course while I was doing the portering part-time. When the college course finished I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do so I came here and did some work experience. From that point I got the assistant job and then I moved on to apprenticeship after that.
Are you still on the apprenticeship now?
The academic side ends this summer in June or July and then I’ve got one more after that in my fourth year when they prep me for the big practical exam. Whenever they feel I’m ready for that they’ll put me in. I should be finished with that possibly at the end of this year, but there’s no set date as such.
How do you feel about the prospect of completely finishing your course?
Excited, but still nervous!
How do you find interacting with ward staff now compared to when you were a porter?
It’s quite interesting. When I started off as a porter a lot of the ward staff were student nurses so we’ve moved through the hospital together. Some of them are now qualified nurses and some of them are even sisters on the wards and it’s always been really friendly because we have those working relationships from before.
How did you become an apprentice?
Originally they were doing an open day for Wirral Met over in the Education and Training Centre and there was a poster put up on one of our noticeboards. I went a long and had a word with them and they managed to find me a suitable course.
When you first started your apprenticeship what were you hoping to get from it?
The end qualification, which is a recognised tradesman qualification – Apprenticeship in Electro-Technical is what they call it.
Could you use that to work as an electrician anywhere?
Yes, in theory, but I’m happy at the Countess and I want to stay long term because they’ve invested time in me and I want to do some good work for them in return.
What’s it been like?
It has been really enjoyable. College has been really good. They’ve opened a new campus which is dedicated to the engineering side and your workshops so I’ve been able to cover hands off stuff both in work and at college. On the theory side they’ve gone into things into much greater detail than I thought they would.
What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming an apprentice at the Countess?
Go for it. Take the opportunity seriously because it is a great opportunity and you might not get another one like it again.