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Picture of our lecturer, Neil WhitfieldThis month marks 50 years since our Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer, Neil, enrolled at St Helens College as a Joinery Apprentice, where his career journey first began!

After securing an apprenticeship with the local authority, St Helens Education Works Committee, Neil enrolled at St Helens College in 1973 on a Joinery course at our Town Centre Campus where our joinery department was then based.
Neil said his apprenticeship was “the steppingstone to a successful 50-year career, introducing him to the diversity of the construction industry”.

Feeling inspired by his former tutor and the Head of Construction at the time, Ian Lancaster, Neil returned to college in 1983, 40 years ago, to begin his teaching career, initially teaching apprentices and adult evening classes.

Since then, Neil has enjoyed a varied and successful career over the years, which has taken him across the world working with the likes of the Australian Government, setting up training centres across Perth, and appeared on TV with Prime Minister, Bob Hawke!

Neil made his return to the UK, settling in Torquay, where he worked in the industry for many years to grow his experience.

Eventually moving back to the North, Neil established his own business providing training and compliance for the emerging Energy Efficiency sector and has had great success, working with many blue-chip stakeholders and currently acts as a Judge for the prestigious National Energy Efficiency Awards.

With over 50 years’ Education and Construction experience, Neil was proud to return to St Helens College in 2022 as a Carpentry and Joinery Lecturer, where his journey first began, in order to help inspire the next generation of joiners.

Speaking to Neil he said: “After many years of working in the industry, I am proud to have achieved what I set out to accomplish. I’ve gained great experience and made amazing connections along the way, not just in the joinery trade but during my time in business too. I knew the next step for me was to return to the college and share my skills, experience and what I’ve learnt along the way with the next generation of students, who are starting out exactly where I was 50 years ago.”

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