Screwfix Trade Apprentice Profiles – Zain Kenny

Zain Kenny, from Mullingar, Ireland, is an aspiring electrician and became a Screwfix Trade Apprentice finalist in 2022.

After leaving school, he initially wanted to study Mechanical Engineering at University. But when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, uncertainty around job security and lack of opportunities to help him fund his studies made him reconsider his options.

Electrical apprenticeships in Ireland see apprentices studying and working in 6-month ‘blocks’ over 4-5 years, providing them with a full scope of electrical skills both in domestic and commercial settings. Now in his third year, Zain studies at the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB Training Centre while working as an apprentice.

Zain has had a positive experience at his employer, saying: “I spent the first month in an offsite training centre, where a full-time instructor taught me, and the other apprentices, some basic skills. When we then went on-site, we were able to identify tools and equipment and complete basic wiring tasks. It’s not something many companies do, and I think it really shows how much they value apprentices. We even have a dedicated Head of Apprentices who will ensure you’re getting the support you need.”

Working on-site across Ireland, Zain has been involved in mostly commercial electrical installations spanning heavy industrial, pharmaceutical, retail and the public sector. He has taken on various responsibilities throughout his apprenticeship, and a key highlight was taking on a leadership role for a block of work which involved setting-up a Building Management System within the admin block of a well know supermarket’s distribution centre. He said: “It was an opportunity that I really valued. I was responsible for a team of five other apprentices, and it really helped me to build my confidence in managing people, together with my communication skills and of course my planning skills.”

Reaching the national final of Screwfix Trade Apprentice last year helped Zain to build his personal skills; “Being in the final gave me a massive confidence boost and motivated me to continue to learn and push myself further,” he said. “The final itself was great, I had so much fun! The day before the final we took part in a workshop hosted by Google on how to grow your personal brand, it was something I wasn’t expecting and got so much from.”

As well as reaching the national final of Screwfix Trade Apprentice, Zain also won Apprentice of the Year at Ireland’s Electrical Awards in 2022. So, what advice would he give to those who are about to embark on an apprenticeship? He says: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t want to be the person who didn’t ask and then does it wrong. Showing an interest is so important, ask questions about the job itself – the why’s, the how’s…it all builds your knowledge and knowledge is a weapon you can use to keep going forward and doing the best job you can.

“Also, be clean and tidy. Keep your boots clean and change your hard hat every few months. It sounds simple but it’s important to invest in yourself, for example a decent pair of safety goggles is essential for when you’re working on ceilings and debris is dropping down on you!”

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