NEW! Apprentice of the Year

Nominee Name: Sam Groves

Company: Finn Geotherm

Supporting Statement

Aged 21, Sam Groves is trainee electrician at East Anglian renewable heating expert Finn Geotherm.

Since joining Finn Geotherm in May 2021, Sam has been working alongside the company’s fully qualified electricians to gain valuable on the job experience on both ground and air source heat pump systems. Commencing with fairly simple small domestic air source systems and then larger ground source units, this has led to Sam working on the larger commercial air and ground source systems Finn Geotherm is undertaking as part of its Salix project requirements.

Sam has been encouraged, and has demonstrated the capability, to move from observing and then a supporting position, to undertaking significant amounts of work himself. In just a year he has proved himself capable of working directly on some of the largest systems Finn Geotherm has installed during its 16-year history, with ongoing checks on Sam’s work, proving that his level of care matches his enthusiasm.

Alongside his job at Finn Geotherm, Sam is currently undertaking an online only course with portfolio coursework at West Suffolk College. This 18 month course will finish with a test at College, resulting in AM2 qualification. Finn Geotherm will continue to invest in Sam’s practical and theoretical skill base as the company strongly believes he has the capability to become one of its principal company electrical engineers in the future. His qualifications currently include Level 1, 2 and 3 Diploma – City College, Norwich; Completed Asbestos Awareness course and First Aid trained.

Sam’s performance at work
Sam’s approach is always positive and he will tackle any project sent his way. He maintains a continuous “can do” attitude. His focus on both theoretical and practical instruction is superb – only needing to be shown something once. We believe this is indicative of the passion he clearly has for his role.

Sam is also simply a hard grafter, not only being willing to undertake any task required of him in the field, but also continuing his focus on his studies during his own time. This is clearly representative of his ambition and his desire to succeed in our industry.

Sam’s work is of exceptional standard. It is neat, accurate and well thought through. He is a valued member of the team, and all at Finn Geotherm find him easy and very pleasant to work with. Sam has maintained a 100% attendance record since he joined our company.

Recent projects Sam has worked on
Project 1 – Paragon House, University of West London
Installation of 2x 210kW Panasonic air source heat pumps at the University’s Brentford campus as part of a decarbonising project which has saved 500 tonnes of CO2 annually across the University’s four London campuses.

Paragon House saw the installation of the largest Panasonic air source heat pump systems in Europe on the roof of a 14-storey building in Central London. The heat pumps have been installed to run alongside the existing gas boilers. Sam was involved in all stages of the installation under the guidance of Finn Geotherm’s qualified electricians, including wiring in the heat pumps on the rooftop and connection to the newly created plant room below.

Project 2 – Brockley Rise Centre, Lewisham
Installation of 2x 90kW Lampoassa Eli 90 ground source heat pumps at Brockley Rise Adult Education Centre. This is the first ground source heat pump to be installed in a Lewisham Council building.

Having been provided with clear schematics and an introduction by his supervisor to the works required, Sam has solely undertaken all the electrical installation work for this project. This started by putting the primary cables in, installing and connecting fuse boards and then, after the plumber had installed the two heat pumps and pipework, connecting up both heat pumps to work as a master heat pump and slave. This is a large and complex system built within a container-based plant room which will be shipped to the Lewisham site and connected up to the mains power supply once the work is complete and checked. Sam demonstrating both the willingness and competency to undertake this project after only being with the company for 11 months is a huge testament to his application and skill.

Quotes from Sam:
Why is entering this award important?
Entering, and perhaps even winning this award, helps to demonstrate the superb opportunities that are available to people of my age entering the renewable industry. Working on the installation of ground and air source heat pump systems at Finn Geotherm has opened an exciting and challenging long term career path to me that I had no idea existed when undertaking my initial studies at college.

Heat pumps are not currently widely referenced in further education courses and so awards such as this, which help to highlight the opportunities available to college leavers and inspire them, are very important. As heat pumps become the norm for homes and businesses, it is essential that more young people opt to join this industry. I hope the success that I have enjoyed in working with my colleagues at Finn Geotherm will inspire others to follow this path.

I am determined to succeed in this industry and have been working hard to grow my skills and expertise through all means available, both in and outside of my employment. I have tried to demonstrate a “can do” attitude to my mentors which I believe has been successful in having more challenging jobs passed to me. This award is an opportunity to prove my hard work and commitment have paid off, hopefully showing my colleagues at work that this is recognised not only by our company but by the industry as a whole.

Why do you feel you should be considered for the award?
I have relished the opportunity presented to me at Finn Geotherm. It has been so much fun but also very challenging and I have enjoyed every minute so far. I have worked hard to learn on the job while also continuing my studies with a view to becoming fully qualified next year. Currently, if I’m not at work installing heat pumps, I’m either studying for my coursework or researching further information on the minute details of system installation online.

My knowledge and confidence have grown significantly in this role. I’ve come a long way from shadowing the team on small domestic jobs to now undertaking significant portions of the electrical work on large commercial projects by myself. My aim is to continue growing my knowledge to become one of the experts in this technology and give people just starting out in their career the same support that I’ve had.

Over the past year, I have tried to absorb all instruction given to me across the huge range of systems that our company works on, from 5kW domestic air source units to very large commercial ground source systems. I have tried to continually demonstrate that I am willing and able to have a go at anything asked of me, while still being happy to accept guidance when required.

I have worked very hard during my time at Finn Geotherm – both to learn about and work on the vast range of systems that our company installs but also to progress my technical knowledge via my college coursework in my own time. I have done this because I truly believe that heat pumps are the future of heating and this is the perfect moment to join the industry. I am lucky to have joined Finn Geotherm at a time when I am able to install some of the foremost systems as part of huge decarbonisation projects the company is undertaking. There is so much to learn but I am enjoying the whole experience immensely and I am excited as to what the rest of my career holds.

Testimonial – Guy Ransom, commercial director at Finn Geotherm:
At Finn Geotherm, we believe we are well placed to provide training in heat pump installation skills. What we cannot teach however is attitude. Sam has this in spades. He has risen to every single challenge we have given him since joining Finn Geotherm in May last year. We are currently installing some of the largest heat pump systems in Europe and he has played a key role in these projects, not only in providing support for our qualified electrical engineers, but also now in installing the equipment on his own. At the age of just 21, Sam shows great maturity in his approach to each project and problem solving as required. He is without question a superb asset to our company and an example to his colleagues and others seeking to join the industry.

Entry ID: 5463