“An apprenticeship really helped me progress through the company,” says Cadent’s Craig Hansbury, “I understand the job so it’s easier to manage people who are doing it.”

Craig joined gas network company Cadent, aged 19, as an apprentice first call operative (FCO), learning how to deal with potentially dangerous gas escapes and other gas emergencies.

Fast forward 13 years and Craig is now in charge of Cadent’s gas emergency response across Staffordshire, Shropshire and the Black Country. Craig heads up a 95-strong team who run a 24/7 operation to keep hundreds of thousands of people safe.

“I’m proof that you can come through the apprenticeship scheme and progress through the company. Every day is different and I like to think that what I do has a positive impact on people’s lives,” he says.

Discovering that sixth form wasn’t for him, Craig was offered the FCO apprenticeship in Birmingham.
“The apprenticeship was brilliant. It was more hands on than sixth form and there was more freedom: sixth form was like being at school but an apprenticeship was my job – and I was earning while I was learning. By the time you’ve qualified you’re ready and raring to go.

“No two jobs are the same. One minute you’re investigating a smell of gas in a house; the next, you can be behind the scenes at Villa Park maintaining the gas meter,” he explains.

After eight years as an FCO in Birmingham, seizing opportunities to develop his career, Craig was promoted to supervisor before being promoted again to his current post.

Now…. Network Engineer Craig Hansbury, heading up a 95-strong gas emergency team in the West Midlands


Then….Craig as a teenaged apprentice, at Aston Villa’s football ground, carrying out maintenance work on the famous football club’s gas meter