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Andover apprentice gifted a new set of tools to kick start career

Pic: Corin Messer Photography Tel: 07803 933014 Aster Commission. PHC Parts business development director Scott Swannell presents tool kits to Aster apprentices Jacob Stanley and Bailey Baulf at the PHC Parts depot at St George's Industrial Estate in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

An apprentice from Andover has been gifted a new set of tools providing a kick start to his career thanks to local housing association Aster Group in partnership with PHC Parts.

Bailey Baulf (18), who is undertaking his gas apprenticeship with Aster, was gifted the tools and a toolbox worth over £150 from PHC Parts, to help him on his way to be a fully qualified gas engineer.

Bailey originally started his Level two plumbing qualification with another company but was unfortunately unable to complete it due to a lack of relevant jobs for his portfolio, so joined Aster to finish his apprenticeship. Bailey said: “These tools will enable me to further develop my skills as an apprentice and gives me more chance to do things independently instead of sharing tools with mentors.”

PHC Parts has been working in partnership with Aster for six years. Scott Swannell, business development director at PHC Parts, said: “We’ve seen first-hand how important it is to support the development of people into the sector to help fill the vacancies needed for skilled workers and to future-proof the gas industry. 

“We also recognise the same need for experience and technical ability to help support customers such as Aster, so we also run an apprenticeship scheme. By supporting the new Aster apprentices over the years with a small gift of tools and toolboxes, we are helping them in the early stages with the correct equipment.”

Simon Whitton, Aster mechanical manager, said: “Apprenticeships are an exciting opportunity for both the apprentice and employer. It’s a productive and efficient way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled workforce and to fill vacancies within the gas industry.

“With the qualifications and future development, a career in the gas industry is just as attractive as gaining a university degree minus the student loans. Once trained, the opportunities are endless. Bailey, or any apprentice in fact, could choose to gain more skills and move into other types of heating such as commercial, renewable or choose to move into management.”

Aster is committed to helping those looking to start their career or upskill in other areas through its own apprenticeship programme. The programme enables people of all ages to learn and gain experience in a variety of roles across the organisation each year. Aster’s success was first recognised in the National Housing Maintenance Forum 2020 awards and has since been shortlisted for Best Apprentice Scheme 2021 and Apprentice of the Year in 2022.

Find out more about Aster’s apprenticeship programme at