Director of DPL Group reflects on his time as an Apprentice

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Vincent Langley – photo credit Paul Nixon

It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2023 and Vincent Langley, Director of DPL Group, reflects on his career and how his apprenticeship played an integral role in laying the foundation for his future. DPL Group started in 2001 and has gone on to become one of the largest privately-owned mechanical and electrical contracting companies in East Anglia. Apprentices have always played a key part in their business and they currently have over 25 apprentices working for them across the various trades – mechanical, electrical, fire and security. Since DPL was founded in 2001, they have had over 150 apprentices start their careers with them, and 80% of their senior management team started their careers as apprentices.

Vincent Langley comments:

“I started as an apprentice electrician for William Steward Group age 16, I went to Suffolk New College for over 4 years completing the Electrical Apprenticeship Programme, moving onto an ONC, then an HNC in Electrical Engineering.”

I chose this route as, when I left school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I looked into apprenticeships and applied for many including BT, British Gas etc and this one was offered by a local company so I went for it.”

My favourite memory from my time as an apprentice is the friends I made at college and on site – I made friendships that will last a lifetime. It was a lot of hard work; early mornings and staying away sometimes, but it was also a lot of fun. The social aspect really helps make friendships for life.”

Being an apprenticeship enables you to work and learn at the same time, and you quickly learn that there are so many areas for progression if you want it (you don’t have to either). I went from Apprentice Electrician, to Electrician, to Foreman, then I moved into the office from age 25. From there I went from Electrical Estimator, to Electrical Project Manager, to M&E Contracts Manager, and finally onto my current position of Director and part owner of DPL Group.”

My main advice to anyone thinking of starting an apprenticeship is to be open minded. There are so many different types of apprenticeships available in the construction industry, many that you wouldn’t even know exist. Don’t be single minded on one trade, send your CV to companies and in their interviews, listen to what they think would suit you best. Try to find a company first before enrolling at a college – be persistent and keep trying, you could even offer to work for free for experience and your chance will come.”