Sontay’s first ever apprentice, James Barber, has successfully passed his Apprenticeship NVQ during National Apprentice Week.

James, Apprenticeship Technical Engineer at Sontay, a leading manufacturer of sensing devices that can monitor and report on a building’s conditions, joined Sontay in 2019 after completing his GCSEs.

Stacey Lucas, Sontay’s Commercial and Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted that James has passed his NVQ. He has really excelled himself and we are proud to have been able to support him on his apprentice journey.”

James works closely with Sontay’s Technical Support Manager, Tony Day, learning about Sontay’s extensive portfolio of sensor products, whilst attending college once a week as part of his NVQ.

James said: “I used to walk past Sontay’s offices every day, but I never knew what they did. I didn’t want to sit in a classroom five days a week, so when I spotted the online advert for an apprenticeship place at Sontay I was curious. The apprenticeship has been incredible allowing me to learn new skills and be hands-on all whilst studying.”

On a day-to-day basis James answers customers’ questions and helps the purchasing team with ongoing projects. As a technical engineer he has to have a good knowledge of products and how they work so he can give the best advice. His learning hasn’t stopped just because he has his NVQ, he is now having Quality Assurance training and learning about other areas of the business, including sales.

James said: “I love the fact that our products are so important and make such a difference. Most people wouldn’t even notice our products or know what they do. When you walk into a doctor’s surgery or shop you wouldn’t be thinking about how the temperature or humidity of the building is being maintained to help you feel comfortable, but that is exactly what we do.

“This sector is so interesting with new technology evolving our product solutions. I predict LoRaWAN® will be the next big thing in our sector, it is a Low Power, Wide Range (LPWA) networking protocol that allows battery operated products to connect to the internet in networks. I can see this being adopted widely in a few years’ time,” he added.

His advice to others looking to apply for an apprenticeship is to find a company that is personable and willing to help you learn about the entire business.

“Sontay now takes on graduates and apprentices on a regular basis. Our young people are our future and investing in them can only bring good things. We are so pleased that the scheme has been a success and we have been able to take on candidates like James who have made such a positive impact to our business. He has a great future in the sector ahead of him.”
Stacey Lucas Commercial and Marketing Director Sontay