Heating firm’s key role in developing apprentices

Jason Oakes and Andrew Watts
Jason Oakes and Andrew Watts

A heating firm is playing a key role in helping to develop apprentices – and there are plenty of opportunities ahead for youngsters hoping to get on the careers ladder.

Oakes Energy Services, in Castle Eden, has linked up with Hartlepool College of Further Education for ten years.

Jason Oakes set the company up with business partner Derek Dowson when injury cut short his professional rugby career with Newcastle Falcons in 2007.

He took on his latest two apprentices recently and says the programme plays a key part in helping the firm develop.

Jason said: “We specialise in the installation of solar thermal hot water systems, solar PV systems and air source heat pumps so it is a varied and challenging workload for the apprentices to pick up on.”

Hartlepool College staff monitor the progress from the apprentices, and shape the work with help from the Oakes team when the youngsters are on campus for day-release.

Jason added: “We run Oakes Heating Services and Oakes Energy Services as two sister companies, so we work across the board in heating and plumbing.

“This apprenticeship isn’t just a traditional plumbing qualification, but the relationship we have with the college reflects that, as they know exactly the type of individual that we look to bring on board.

“We are delighted with the relationship we have with the College, and we look forward to developing it further in the future.”

Among the projects that the students get to work on is one with Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle.