National Apprenticeship Week:  From winning on water to fixing water leaks

How Paralympic gold medal winner, Dan Brown MBE, is re-training as an apprentice with Fortem to help Orbit customers

Not everyonegets agold-winning Olympic athleteturning up to fix their plumbing. But,that’s exactly what Orbit customers can soon expect. 

Dan Brown MBE wonagoldmedalin rowing atthe2016Riode Janeiro Paralympic Gamesandis now re-training as a plumbing and heating engineerbycompleting his apprenticeship withFortem, who carry out repairs and maintenance on Orbit’s homes inand around Stratford-upon-Avonin Warwickshire. 

As well as anaccomplishedOlympian, Dan is also a triple world champion in rowing. Sport was always a big part of Dan’s life, but following a car accident in 2003, he was left with life-changing injuries and limited options for sporting pursuits. One day he saw some rowers on the river near his home and thought he would give it a go.He learnt to row and the rest, as they say, is history. He received his MBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2017 for services to rowing.

Talking about his change in careernow, as he switchesfrom river water to learning about water pipes, Dan said: “My rowing career ended in 2019 as I had an injury and had to retire early, which created the perfect opportunity for me to look into doing something else. I always knew I wanted to get into a trade career but never had the opportunity until now. Taking part in the mature apprenticeship programme means that I can learn a trade and become qualified. My brotheris a mechanic and my dadisan electrician, soI knowthat learning a trade isa good skill tohave.” 

Steve Rhodes, Branch Support ManagerfromFortem,explained: “Fortemhas worked successfully over many years to develop and enhance the lives of hundredsofpeople through our work experience and apprenticeship programs.  Over the pastseven years we have worked closely with Orbit to identify and train apprentices not only in trade skills, but in the values and behaviours that underpin both our companies.  This successful partnership has seen many of our qualifying apprentices taking on permanent roles within our branch to deliver the high-quality servicesOrbitcustomers expect from their repairs and maintenance service.” 

Hannah Satchwell, Future Talent Manager at Orbit,added: “In addition to our own apprenticeship programme, we support schemes which are run by our partner organisations. TheFortem programme ensures that apprentices learn not one, but two trades,which all helps to improve the overallrepair and maintenance experiencefor our customers.I’m not sure how many of our customers will know Dan from the 2016Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, but once he starts talking to them, I am sure they will be delighted to find out about hisprevious career.” 

Fortemis recruiting for Apprentices throughout February and can apply via for more information