We had a chat with Matt Frangos-Swindley, the Learner of the Month for March!
The HIP Learner of the Month award celebrates students and apprentices who are passionate about the future of the plumbing & heating industry, going above and beyond in their apprenticeships to set the standards of the industry.
HIP has launched the award to recognise the efforts that students and apprentices have put into learning the trade.
Matt was nominated by his lecturer Chris Walling, and was chosen as the Learner of the Month after a week of voting and testimonials on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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Such a difficult decision this month! We have looked at our shortlisted nominees' submissions and read all your comments and have chosen our winner… Congratulations Matt Frangos-Swindley @grwpllandrillomenai, you're this month's winner! You've won a £150 PC Stick from Kingspan Water & Energy 🙌 Massive congratulations to our nominees, reading all the comments about you was amazing! Remember, you can nominate your learner or apprentice for the next award now – DM us for info! #HIPLOTM
The award was sponsored by Kingspan, who sent Matt a £150 PC stick.
Our runner-up was Ruben Duggan from Coleg y Cymoedd.
Matt, 45, was nominated for the following reason: “Matt volunteered for Cartrefi Conwy, a local housing association, for a year before a modern apprenticeship position opened up.
“Matt’s Irlens and dyslexia were only identified when starting his apprenticeship at college but he works hard on additional sessions to overcome this.”
HIP Magazine: Congratulations Matt! How does it feel to be the HIP Learner of the Month?
Matt Frangos-Swindley: I’m absolutely humbled for the opportunity. At my age, to come through and to get this is absolutely amazing. I’m over the moon!
HIP: How long have you been in the industry?
MFS: Coming up for three years now.
HIP: What course/year are you on at Coleg Llandrillo? Do you have an apprenticeship?
MFS: I’m doing Level 2 Plumbing & Heating. We were just about to complete Level 2 to go onto Level 3 but it’s been delayed and I’m unsure what’s going on now. I’ve got a modern apprenticeship – I put in ten months voluntary work, doing 27 hours a week shadowing a gas engineer, helping with maintenance jobs and that – and got the apprenticeship at the housing association.
HIP: What made you want to get into the industry?
MFS: I did security work before and had a bad accident and snapped the tendon in my left arm which put me out. I also worked in a local gym for years – as soon as I broke my arm it was life-changing. This was something I always wanted to have a go at doing but don’t think I had the courage to do it. I was told I was dyslexic all my life but I have just passed my English which I’m made up about. I want to build a better life for my kids.
HIP: What do you love most about it?
MFS: Nothing’s ever the same – even though it can be repetitive sometimes, you have a different daily challenge. I’m on the boiler installation team – even though its the same boiler going off and back on the wall, you always hit different snags and it’s nice to be able to use your head and think about a situation. In my previous job you didn’t have to think, it was just laid on. This is more challenging.
HIP: What is your day-to-day role?
MFS: Boilers, full heating systems, radiators. We do a vast amount of stuff. I was on the bathroom installation team for a few months which I quite enjoyed.
HIP: What would you like to achieve in your career?
MFS: The company I am with have been really good with me and I couldn’t ask for any more. At my age, to try and go on my own… the wages are good in the company so I want to stick with the company and go from there.
HIP: What inspires you the most?
MFS: I’m a bit older than everyone else at work and I see some of the younger lads and think, ‘how did you manage to do that?’ Seeing them and the way they’ve learned at a young age inspires me in a way, I want to pass on what I’ve got to my son so he has a better start in life than maybe what I had. Even though I had good jobs before, this is a dream job which is pretty hard to get hold of.
HIP: What’s your favourite social media platform?
MFS: I like WhatsApp. I’ve only joined Facebook recently.
HIP: What’s your favourite job to do?
MFS: I quite like the electrics side of things. We’re doing gas boilers, oil boilers, every day, but I like the electrics.
HIP: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your apprenticeship?
MFS: Don’t panic! When you first start seeing water pouring out it can be quite daunting and for someone who’s not seen it before, you can run around flapping.