Degree for former apprentice as S&B utilities show commitment to staff development



An electrician who started work as a teenage apprentice has passed a foundation degree in electrical and electrical engineering after his employer offered to put him through university.

Jodi Lee Beales, 32 has gained the degree at Leeds Metropolitan University after civil engineering and construction company, S&B Utilities, Harrogate, which he joined in 1999 as a 16-year-old apprentice, paid his fees.



Now Jodi has been made a foreman electrician at S&B Utilities, leading a team of electricians handling complex work including industrial control panels and telemetry enhancement for Yorkshire Water throughout the region.

S&B Utilities managing director, Keith Swales, said:

Many young people who start as apprentices do so because they have not had a chance to progress their education for a variety of reasons.

It became clear in discussions with Jodi about his work aspirations that he wanted to develop his career after completing his apprenticeship and gaining valuable experience on site with senior staff so the directors decided to help by enabling him to do a university degree which was one day a week for three years.

In terms of fee and lost production, this has represented an investment of about £25,000 for the business and, although we thought twice in this economic difficult climate, we feel it has been a great investment for us and a real achievement for Jodi. We’re delighted for him.

(L to R) at S&B Utilities headquarters in Knaresborough are managing director Keith Swales and foreman electrician, Jodi Beales, who was promoted after gaining an electrical engineering degree at Leeds Metropolitan University after completing a course funded by S&B Utilities.
(L to R) at S&B Utilities headquarters in Knaresborough are managing director Keith Swales and foreman electrician, Jodi Beales, who was promoted after gaining an electrical engineering degree at Leeds Metropolitan University after completing a course funded by S&B Utilities

Jodi Beales said:

It is great to work for a company which is genuinely committed to staff development.

I was surprised and pleased when the directors agreed to support me through university as I know it involved a significant investment in terms of fees and lost work. However, I now have a chance to put what I have learned to use for S&B Utilities various contracts.

S&B Utilities succeeded an earlier business, S&B Construction, established in 1980 and changed ownership in 2006 with a management buy out led by the current directors. The company’s current services include civil engineering, metal fabrication, building and maintenance, feasibility studies and design for customers including Severn Trent Costains Ltd, Earth Tech Morrisons, Yorkshire Water Services, University of York, Taylors of Harrogate, PPP Infrastructure, Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Driffield Showground and HM Prison Service.


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