Bracknell apprentice comes second in regional heat of SPARKS Female Skills Competition 2024

A female apprentice from Bracknell and Wokingham College came second in a regional heat of a skills competition.

Left to right: Darren Oats, Head Judge, SPARKS Female Skills competition and Technical Development Manager of NET (National Electrotechnical Training), Sarah Little, Installation and Maintenance Electrician Level 3 Apprentice at Bracknell and Wokingham College and Progression Electrical and Stephen Butcher, Electrical Installation Lecturer/Assessor at Activate Learning.

Sarah Little, 39, from Binfield, who is studying an Installation and Maintenance Electrician Level 3 Apprenticeship at the Church Road campus and Progression Electrical, recently took part in the South Regional heat of the SPARKS Female Skills Competition 2024 at Bath College.

During the five-hour competition, contestants were asked to wire a consumer unit, following a drawing. Contestants were given all the materials and asked to wire and put everything on the board as per the drawing, right down to the measurements. The contestants had certain circuits including a ring-main to wire with two-way switches and an intermediate smoke alarm to include. The finished board had to be neat and tidy with no copper showing, as if it would appear in a domestic household.

Sarah will compete in the Grand Final, on Thursday 18 April at Stephenson College, in Coalville.

Sarah said: “I was completely shocked to find out that I was the runner up! I didn’t expect to get anywhere as I was just going in for the experience and my teacher had talked me into it.

“It was very intense and nerve wracking as I’ve only been doing it for five months, and all the other competitors were in their third year of their apprenticeship, so I didn’t think that I would stand a chance.

“The time goes so quickly, you don’t realise how quickly it goes, but I managed to do the stretcher task as well as I finished 45 minutes early.

“It was good to take part in the competition as I’ve never met another female electrician and know that there are others out there and not just you.”

Steve Butcher, Electrical Installation Lecturer/Assessor at Activate Learning said: “Sarah is an inspiration to us all, as she’s a single mum of three, a qualified PE teacher who after years of teaching in Primary and Secondary education wanted a career change.

“After only five months into her apprenticeship, she missed winning the heat by two marks!”

Find out more about apprenticeships in Construction with Activate Apprenticeships or contact them on 01865 551 015.