Hythe Marine Services’ First Apprentice on His Move to Hythe Building Services

Henry Barker was one of the first apprentices hired by Hythe Group’s original company, Hythe Marine Services. Alongside Rhys Smallman, Henry joined the team as an Apprentice Pipefitter and Welder in September 2012 just after finishing school. 

Hythe Marine Services’ First Apprentice on His Journey Through the Company

After completing his apprenticeship, Henry became full time with Hythe Marine Services, until his recent move to Hythe Building Services

We spoke to Henry to find out about his career, company changes and the importance of personal growth. 


Henry’s Career at Hythe Group 

Although Henry’s apprenticeship with Hythe Marine Services started in September 2012, this wasn’t the official beginning of his career. Henry explained,Luke Fitzgerald (Director of Value Engineering) used to bring me into the HMS workshop on Saturday mornings so I could gain experience. This opportunity led to an offer for an apprenticeship position once I finished school.”

Henry’s Pipefitters Apprenticeship lasted for four years. During the first year, Henry completed his Level 2 NVQ at PETA, an engineering college, before spending six months onsite with Hythe Marine Services. Over the final three years, while Henry was completing his Level 3 NVQ, a PETA assessor would visit monthly to determine his progress. 

Throughout this time, Henry was also working toward his Level 3 City and Guilds qualification at Southampton City College

Henry told us, “I completed my apprenticeship in the summer of 2016. Since then, I have worked on numerous projects for HMS. Most notably in Portsmouth dockyard but I’ve also worked at Southampton General Hospital, Whitman’s Laboratories and in Italy for two weeks working on a superyacht.”

In 2019, Henry moved from Hythe Marine Services to Hythe Building Services.  


Changing Sectors: From the Marine Industry to Building Services

Since his move in 2019, Henry has worked on various projects at different sites across the south coast, and in HBS’ fabrication workshop.

When asked why he decided to move companies, Henry said, “After working mostly in Portsmouth dockyard for seven years, I wanted to experience a new challenge and see what the outside world was about. Luckily for me, that opportunity was there for me at HBS, who were happy to take me on.”

Henry will be using the welding and pipefitting skills learned during his time with Hythe Marine Services, as they are still a fundamental part of his role. However, this career move also offers the opportunity to learn new skills.

“The thing I look forward to most about working with Hythe Building Services is the opportunity to be working at different places. Although some of our projects are fairly long, it’s nice to get out and about on the different sites. I enjoy seeing where all the pipework actually goes and how all the different systems are put together.”


Hythe Marine Services’ First Apprentice on His Journey Through the Company

Apprenticeships with Hythe Marine Services

Although the companies are separate entities, it’s important for them to have strong cross-sector relationships. When employees move across companies, it forms a new link between each team. These connections are crucial for the strength of Hythe Group as a whole. 

Similarly, the experienced generation passes down their knowledge and skill to the younger employees and apprentices. Without this, decades of expertise would be lost. 

Henry is a prime example of the value in educating young people in trades. Henry had the opportunity to go to college to learn his trade, whilst working on jobs alongside experienced workers. This involved a lot of hard work on Henry’s behalf to get to where he is today. However, he also recognises the role his fellow team members had in his success.

Henry told us, “I owe a lot of praise to my fellow workers at HMS who put in the time and effort to help me get to the stage I’m at. Hard work and a positive attitude are still needed, and I hope I set a good example to my fellow workers.”


If you’re interested in finding out more about apprenticeships with Hythe Marine Services, take a look at the following articles:


How has Hythe Marine Services Evolved over the years? 

We asked Henry whether the company has changed over his career. He told us, “HMS has evolved massively since I first joined the company. It was a relatively small company back when I first started, and over the years it’s grown a lot, with the open projects seemingly increasing every year. The company has welcomed many new faces since I’ve been there, and each one of them has helped to push the company in the direction it’s at today.”

Henry also mentioned that he believes Hythe Group is different from a lot of other companies because of the diverse amount of work the group of companies undertakes, and the endless opportunities available to people. He explained that there are always new things to be learned, and new experiences available somewhere within the company. 

Read more about the History of Hythe Group


Interested in working with the Hythe Group team or enquiring about our services? Get in touch today. 


Senior Weld Inspector Paul Stone becomes European Welding Specialist

Anybody with a drive for continuous personal development will be well situated at Hythe Group. This is certainly the case for Paul Stone, a long-standing member of the team, who isn’t planning on putting down the books anytime soon. 

In his latest achievement, Paul Stone, Hythe Marine Services’ (HMS) Senior Welding Inspector, has obtained European Welding Specialist status with The Welding Institute (TWI). 

Having this qualification has given Paul additional industry expertise, allowing him to advise and oversee welding processes and technology. 

We spoke to Paul to find out what went into obtaining this certification, what it means for his career, and the opportunities it creates for HMS as a company. 


Becoming a European Welding Specialist with The Welding Institute 

“TWI is the world’s largest provider of training in non-destructive testing, welding, welding inspection and a host of allied disciplines. Training with TWI leads to internationally recognised qualifications, delivering tangible benefits to individual careers and increasing business capabilities.” – The Welding Institute 

Gaining this internationally recognised qualification isn’t an easy feat. Paul completed five separate modules on-site at TWI, on topics including materials and their behaviour, design, construction, and fabrication. 

As a Senior Weld Inspector, Paul has a considerable amount of experience and industry knowledge of welding. This new qualification expands on his existing expertise, adding an extra layer of assurance for the team and customers of Hythe Marine Services.

Paul explained, “The course without a doubt was valuable to me. I learnt a lot of extra things about different welding processes. It’s good welding knowledge to have for the company and myself, plus I have the course materials for myself and the team to refer back to on future projects.”



How will Paul’s European Welding Specialist Qualification Impact his Career?

When asked about what becoming a European Welding Specialist means for his career, Paul told us, “On a personal level, we always want to try and better ourselves. I actually wish I’d done it twenty years ago. If I had my time again, I would have gone on to become a Welding Engineer.” 

Previously, after obtaining his senior weld inspector certification, Paul stopped going after new development opportunities. But adding this newest string to his bow has kickstarted him to start learning again. 

In true Hythe Group spirit, Paul commented on how his drive to learn sets a good example for the younger staff. They can see from Paul that he’s still wanting to learn new things and continue to develop industry knowledge, encouraging them to follow in his footsteps.

Read more about Paul’s career, expertise, and history with the marine industry in our article Get To Know Hythe Marine Services’ Head of Welding.


What does this Achievement Mean for Hythe Marine Services? 

Having European Welding Specialist status gives potential customers and existing customers confidence that HMS employ people with a strong knowledge of welding processes. 

Having a dedicated workforce that is interested in continual improvement also gives the company assurance in their staff. Soon, Paul is hoping to complete his European Welding Technologist qualification. 

Paul said, “Going back to when I first joined HMS, we were a small team and over that period we’ve grown as a company. We have more welders and plater fabricators that are doing welding tasks, and they’re getting their qualifications as well. I think it’s important for our staff to have official education behind them as it gives potential and existing customers confidence in our work.”

Read about the importance of staff training in our recent news article, Hythe Marine Services Welders Achieve Certified Visual Weld Inspector Status


Personal Development and Training at Hythe Group 

Paul commented that the training staff are put through at Hythe Group is second to none. If a member of staff is interested in doing a course that’s beneficial to the company and the personnel, the senior staff won’t think twice about it. 

HMS and the newer Hythe Group companies are a team of dedicated, driven and empathetic people that are passionate about the work they do. 

Paul demonstrated this unmatchable attitude, as he put the future of the company in the hands of the younger generation.

“All of us that have been here from the start have put in a lot of hard work to get the company where it is. I’m very keen for us to push on for the future, and the younger generation is the future of Hythe Group. Josh Mathias (MD) would tell you the same. We’ve got to try and push the younger generation. If you didn’t have the youngsters coming through and learning the skills of the trades, the company would crumble.”


Interested in quality assured welding services? Speak with our team via the button below. 


A careers starter: Hythe Marine Services apprenticeship scheme

An interview with Hythe Marine Services apprentice Tyrrell Ford. Take a look behind the scenes into the life of an HMS apprentice.


About Hythe Marine Services

Hythe Marine Services (HMS) is the leading turnkey provider of engineering, fabrication and repair services to the marine, civil engineering and waste management sectors. They currently employ 10% of their workforce as apprentices across different trades within the business, which includes pipe fitting, welding, light and heavy fabrication and hands on machining, to name a few.

We spoke with Tyrrell Ford who is currently participating in the apprenticeship scheme to find out more about his experience with Hythe Marine Services.


How did you find out about the Hythe Marine apprenticeship scheme?

I was in full time education studying Marine Engineering and as part of my course I had to complete a weeks’ work experience. I contacted Hythe Marine Services, who offered me the experience for five days and at the end of that time they suggested I join them on their apprenticeship scheme. As I was still completing my course, they worked with me to ensure that I could finish it, allowing me time off when needed to complete my studies.


What interested you in the Hythe Marine apprenticeship scheme?

I was in the workshop with the teams for that initial week and saw what went on behind the scenes. I was made to feel like a part of the family within that first week and was able to get an insight into all the different trades, after that I knew I wanted to be part of the Hythe team.


What have been the highlights of the apprenticeship scheme for you?

There are so many highlights, I don’t know where to start. One of the important life skills I have learnt is how to work well within a team. As an independent family run business, I found that all staff and managers are very dedicated to making the apprenticeship a success, both as a scheme and for each individual. Everyone has spent so much time with me ensuring that I have the skills required to tackle all projects.

They supported, and paid, for me to complete driving lessons during work time and paid for my driving test too. Clearly this is a benefit to the company going forward but also a hugely independent step for me and the other apprentices.

As well as learning all the skills required for fabrication and welding, Hythe Marine Services are now supporting me through my 3.0 CSWIP welding inspection course, designed for welders who carry out the visual examination of welded joints. The apprenticeship is linked to NVQ and City & Guilds qualifications, with training in partnership with Highbury College, Southampton University, PETA and BAE Systems, so I will complete the apprenticeship with lots of knowledge and new qualifications.


What is your normal day like on the apprenticeship scheme?

Every day is different, there are different jobs going on at all times, some are long-term projects and others are shorter one-off tasks. One of the most interesting jobs I take part in is weld tests on different materials to see what passes and fails. Thanks to this apprenticeship I am skilled in dealing with a large variety of materials.

This training has also enabled me to conduct 6G pipe tests on the Type 45 Royal Navy vessels, guided missile destroyers. Some days, I can’t believe this is my job!

Many staff at Hythe Marine have been there for quite a few years and they’re all very encouraging of the scheme and not at all threatened by us young newcomers. They seem to be so happy to share their knowledge.


What is your plan post apprenticeship?

I started my apprenticeship in 2017 and it’s a three year scheme. After completing the apprenticeship, I am guaranteed a job with the team. Our main base is in Portsmouth and at the moment I am mainly based there, because of the time I need to spend at college, but it is normal to spend time on some of the other sites too, like Rosyth and Barrow.

I am planning to stay at Hythe for as long as possible as they are very keen to highlight capabilities and push you to be the best that you can be. I imagine the future will involve welding expansion courses, as I have taken a real interest in the welding side of the business.

As part of the apprenticeship we attend first aid and health and safety training and in the future I may complete a safety management courses as well.

I really enjoy doing the scheme, I like being hands-on with things and would rather be earning money whilst I am learning. There are lots of staff at Hythe that have been here for a long time and each one of them has  provided a huge amount of support for me, it’s a family run business and we all feel like a part of it.

I would like to eventually give something back to Hythe by supporting future generations of apprentices.


Join the Hythe Apprenticeship Scheme

If you’re interested in becoming a Hythe Marine apprentice simply get in touch with our team via our website. In your email enclose a copy of your CV along with an outline of what you are interested in doing. We also need you to provide a point of contact, a brief description of how you heard about us and why you want to do an apprenticeship with Hythe Marine in particular.

Upon review of your application a member of our team will get in touch. The next steps would be to bring you in for a week to a month to give you a proper understanding of what you will be signing up for, in addition, this helps us to get to know you better. After this process, if all is a good fit, you could be looking at being our next apprentice!

I was made to feel like a part of the family within that first week and was able to get an insight into all the different trades, after that I knew I wanted to be a part of the Hythe Team.