National apprenticheship week: winning at welding

Liam Flynn recently joined John Tracey Specialist Welding (JTSW) as part of our Welder/Fabricator apprenticeship scheme, enabling him to attend a local college whilst working 2 days a week in JTSW’s fabrication facility at Westway.

“I was lucky to be given the opportunity to undertake some work experience with family as a welder, and as soon as I got into the workshop, I loved it. From that moment, I knew welding was the only choice for me.

I decided to follow the apprenticeship route as it just seemed to make sense, allowing me to team learning with experience. The variety you get through an apprenticeship is a big plus too, as you never get bored! During my time here so far, I have worked on so many different projects – from fittings and pipework for gas lines, to bespoke marine equipment pieces for the movement of vessels. When I first started, I never dreamed that I would be involved in such a variety of interesting projects – it has been fantastic!”

“Starting my apprenticeship is without doubt one of the best things I have done. It has enabled me to take on an exciting challenge, and provided the opportunity to learn and develop. It is a sharp learning curve, but when you see something come out of the workshop, that you have worked so hard on, there is nothing more satisfying.  And the team have been great, all taking time to answer my questions and help when I need it – so that has been a big plus!

For anyone who is interested in becoming a welder or plater, why are you waiting? Try and find some work experience and get in a workshop – it will be the best thing you have done;  For me as soon as I got in the door there was no way I was going to do something else. And if an apprenticeship is the route for you, whether in welding, or otherwise, then don’t hold back. Start applying now to companies that you know to have a good reputation or that others recommend, as then you know you will be joining a safe, supportive team. I have been so lucky both in my choice of career and company; I couldn’t imagine now being anything but a welder for John Tracey Specialist Welding – I just can’t wait to see what projects are on the horizon and hope that in the future I may take some of the newer apprentices under my wing, to pay back the great experience I have had!”


The UK maritime sector, and the UK in general, are facing huge challenges from a variety of aspects, including skills shortages which are raising issues for employers across the country, who are struggling to find and retain, amongst others, skilled welding staff – a situation set to continue in future years. 

Welding presents a real, long-term career option, which combined with a case for increased fabrication in the UK illustrates the future employment opportunities. You can read more about fabrication demand in the UK, in our white paper here