Construction Industry Apprenticeships

Case studies

Case study – Nathan Gonzales-Brown

Category: Case studies

Nathan is an Acton resident and had completed his Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing Studies when JBT first met him. Even before then, Nathan always wanted to do more hands-on work, whether in the boxing ring or doing freelance electrical work with his dad.



Nathan was put into contact with JBT by the College of North West London in late 2016 to see if he would be suitable for our apprenticeship programme. After we equipped him with his tools and PPE at his induction, Nathan was ready to start on site two weeks later. He quickly settled in with Higgins Construction on their St Bernard’s Gate project for Catalyst Housing Group.

Nathan expressed some concerns early on that he was doing mostly general labouring rather than plumbing-related tasks. JBT spoke with the sub-contractor I-MEX to ensure he would be doing enough to complete his portfolio. Nathan quickly became one of our highest-performing apprentices to date. His supervisor spoke very highly of him at his first monthly review, saying “His interest and attitude are very good for his age. If all apprentices were like him, my job would be so much easier.” Within a couple of months, he was consistently scoring full marks in every aspect of his site reviews.

At his initial interview with Joe, Nathan told us that he “always really wanted to do a trade”. Initially, he supported the family business working with his dad, Michael, doing commercial and household electrical wiring. However he hadn’t really enjoyed electrical work. It wasn’t until his multi-trade year at college that he was really taken by plumbing – he says the work just “made more sense” to him, and that he preferred the neater layout of pipework compared to other trades.

Outside of work, Nathan’s determination and his ambitious attitude can be clearly seen in his boxing career. He holds the English Elite Title Champion Belt for 2016. He has also won both the U-49kg category in the National Amateur Boxing Championship 2015, and Gold at the Haringey Box Cup 2015 – Europe’s biggest amateur boxing event – both by the age of 18.

Unfortunately, Nathan dislocated his shoulder while sparring in June. This severely impacted his ability to work, especially with power tools. He bravely volunteered for a pioneering form of keyhole surgery where he could watch the operation on a screen as it happened. Though he had to take two unpaid weeks off, JBT added them to the end of his placement.

Once he returned to work on St Bernard’s Gate, JBT attended a meeting with Nathan and I-MEX to ensure he would not being doing any work which put him at risk. The subcontractor agreed that he would be placed on light duties (snagging reports) until he was ready to delve back into more intensive work. We regularly checked in with Nathan over the following weeks to make sure he was still fulfilling his NVQ requirements, even with the lesser workload.


Nathan completed his apprenticeship with JBT in August 2017. At his final on-site review and interview, we asked him how he had found his time with JBT. He said “They have been 10 out of 10. They helped me so much and I felt supported all the way through. I can always ring for help (…) I don’t think I’d have got my NVQ if it wasn’t for JBT.” When asked about his future goals, Nathan told us he was hoping to be taken on by I-MEX and to eventually “get gas qualified and working for myself or a reputable company, but most of all to have a good reputation.


Post script

JBT are delighted to announce that, despite I-MEX saying they do not usually directly employ contractors, they have agreed to take on Nathan as a self-employed plumber on account of his exceptional work and attitude. We couldn’t be more proud of him.