Although it has only recently celebrated its second anniversary, it is clear that Exeter-based Dragon Light and Power Ltd has put high standards at the heart of its approach from Day One, as one of its staff, Lizzie Corsten, has just been named Apprentice of the Year at the 2023 Tools Awards.
“We have strived to deliver a high-quality service from the very beginning, even in the face of the challenges associated with the pandemic,” explains Ash Corsten, Managing Director. “The middle of a pandemic is probably not the best time to start a business, but coming through such a baptism of fire has set us in good stead.
“It has been a difficult journey but has been worthwhile too, and I’ve really enjoyed the process. We’ve been able to delve into different technologies and take on a wide range of jobs, from large electrical works for quarries and power stations, through to the smaller end of the scale, such as installing a Ring doorbell on a private property. Variety is the spice of life.
“In terms of staff, there’s just two of us full-time at the moment, but we have four sub-contactors that we work with as and when needed. We’ve continually put skills and standards at the top of our priorities.”
This ethos was demonstrated by Lizzie’s Tools Awards’ success, as she outlines: “Sometimes apprentices are just used as dogs bodies but that hasn’t been the case with Dragon. I’m a second-year apprentice and I worked sporadically with Ash for about nine months prior to starting my apprenticeship. It’s going extremely well and I’m looking forward to the day when I can help an apprentice start their own career.
“I feel a great deal of imposter syndrome, but at the same time I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved and how far I’ve come. I’m really passionate about my apprenticeship, and about apprenticeships in general, so it’s been lovely for it to be recognised.”
Ash adds: “It’s vital that we invest in our people to enable them to produce excellent work. I’ve witnessed apprentices being used just as cheap labour, which is something I don’t agree with at all. If you are giving your all to learn a trade, you deserve to receive the best possible support and training. I hope this is what we’re able to provide and I’m delighted with Lizzie’s award recognition.”
The emphasis that Dragon Light and Power has put on developing its skills has enabled the company to take on a broad range of work, including a youth centre in Chudleigh in Newton Abbot. “This has been a really nice project to work on, although not the most glamorous,” says Ash. “It’s involved a great deal of work, and we carried out the EICR about a year ago. It’s led to improvements to the lighting, power sockets, heating systems and wiring. It’s been a great opportunity to showcase the range of work we can provide and our ability to meet tight budgets.”
As it looks to build on the success of the projects it has worked on, as well as Lizzie’s award success, the aim now is to keep the momentum going and further develop its reputation. “The summer was relatively quiet and there has been some reticence in the market due to the negative economic outlook,” says Ash. “We’re determined to keep doing things the right way, however, and continue delivering high quality work at reasonable prices.”
By displaying such a strong commitment to its people, Dragon Light and Power has put strong foundations in place that will allow the company to take on ever larger projects in the months and years ahead. Further award recognition can’t be ruled out either.