National Apprentice Week 2024

🏗️ National Apprenticeship Week 2024: Skills for Life in Construction Excellence! 🛠️

National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is a week-long celebration that brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses, and the wider economy. This year’s theme, “Skills for Life”, resonates with our commitment to excellence, urging us to consider the enduring impact of apprenticeships on skill development.

In a special feature, we catch up with Iason, Charlie and Harrison, spotlighting their apprenticeship journeys. Over the years, numerous employees have enrolled in site and office-based apprenticeship courses, aligning with our dedication to nurturing skills that last a lifetime.

Suzanne Akerman, our dedicated Training & Development Co-ordinator, helps to guide apprentices on a path to lifelong skills. We ask that those who would like to undertake an apprenticeship, spend a minimum time working on our sites beforehand so that they can get a good feel for the course they would like to take on.  Delving into the mentorship dynamic, we spoke to Anthony who is currently mentoring Carpentry Apprentice, Toby, showcasing how a dedicated and considerate mentor can help shape an apprenticeships path.

At the core of our company values is a commitment to employee growth and development. Our investment in apprenticeships aligns seamlessly with the theme, encouraging individuals to develop the skills and knowledge for a rewarding career. We believe in shaping a workforce with future-ready skills, echoing the essence of National Apprenticeship Week 2024.

Join us in celebrating the week, where we not only build structures but invest in a future where skills endure and careers flourish! 🚀✨

 

Anthony – Mentor, Stonewood Builders

 1.How did you choose your career path, and what role did your apprenticeship play in your professional journey?

I helped a family friend renovate a property whilst I was at school, which led to me signing up for a carpentry course at college. The apprenticeship helped me gain experience and climb the ladder.

 2. What specific skills or knowledge did you gain through your own apprenticeship that you believe were crucial to your success in your current role?

Three main skills I learnt were good time keeping, teamwork and attention to detail. 

 3. What advice do you have for someone starting their apprenticeship journey, based on your own experiences and lessons learned?

Be patient and willing to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

 4. In your opinion, how has the landscape of apprenticeships evolved over the years, and what do you think are the most significant benefits for individuals pursuing this path today?

Much more encouraged and available now. Good way to earn money and learn on the job a good trade.

5. Can you share a memorable or challenging experience from your apprenticeship that had a lasting impact on your professional development?

Learning how to hang doors in college, then putting it into practise at work.

6. What made you want to be a mentor?

I know what it’s like to be an apprentice so thought it would be useful to share what I’ve learnt.

7. What would you say to someone who is interested in becoming a mentor?

Be patient and approachable. Not everyone will get it first time.

Photo: Anthony (L) and his apprentice Toby (R)

 

Harrison – AQS, Stonewood Builders (Chartered Quantity Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship at UWE)

1. What do you enjoy the most about working in construction?

Construction is an incredible industry to work in, I really enjoy the fast-paced feel of it all and the reactiveness that is required within the job, it really keeps you on your toes and your mind active. Luckily for us at Stonewood we are able to work on some incredibly interesting and beautiful buildings which I’m not sure you would be able to find at other contractors which makes the job even sweeter.

2. What has been the most difficult part of being an apprentice and how did you overcome those challenges?

Probably the stigma that comes along with the apprentice role, I will preface this by saying that the majority of people I get to work with are incredibly nice and always want to give you a helping hand when needed but as is ever the case you get the odd few who aren’t so kind to you, you have to take these in your stride and prove to them that you are good at what you do and soon enough they will treat you with the respect you deserve.

3. What would you say to anyone considering getting into the industry?

Do it! If you are ready for a fast-paced world where you get to meet incredible people and building outstanding projects, then construction is for you. Not that I am biased but, Quantity Surveying is the best role to get yourself into; you get to have a deep understanding of the world as a whole from ground up construction to the numbers side, the satisfaction of completing a project and knowing that you were a key part in its success is unbeatable in my opinion.

4. What is a common misconception about working in construction?

I was always told that working in construction is boring, building the same things day in day out, and I imagine it can be if you’re working on a housing development knocking up the same houses for 15 years straight but as said above Stonewood have this incredible niche that allows us to work with interesting clients and build some incredibly beautiful projects. I often find myself looking around the Castle Cary office at the photos that are up on the walls in awe of what has previously been built; a personal favourite of mine, of which I have yet to have had the pleasure of seeing, is the Roman Villa built for The Newt.

5. How has working in construction bettered your life?

Working in construction has allowed me to meet incredible people in all fields of work, it has given me a better understanding on the world of construction and how things are built. Being in control of the financials of a project also allows you to develop budgeting skills and the costs that are associated with them so hopefully when I am able to buy my first home, I will be able to make it my dream home for as cost effective as possible.

6. Why did you get into construction?

I spent three years working as a mechanical engineer for Renishaw and just found the work incredibly boring and not all that interesting so began looking at other options to move into a different career. I had previously spent 6 weeks during my summer holidays whilst I was completing my A-levels at Midas working alongside Jack Belcher in a QS’s role and really enjoyed my time whilst I was there so decided to drop him a text to see if he knew of any companies who were currently looking at employing an apprentice he said Stonewood were looking for an apprentice and after a quick interview with Tom Tiley, my now mentor, and the rest is history.

 

Iason – Carpentry Apprentice, Stonewood Builders (Carpentry Apprenticeship at Gloucester College)

 1. What do you enjoy the most about working in construction?

The satisfaction of looking at your own work after it’s complete. It’s very rewarding.

2. What has been the most difficult part of being an apprentice and how did you overcome those challenges?

Doing coursework and having to study for everything, I prefer a more hands on approach.

3. What would you say to anyone considering getting into the industry?

Have a good think about it and see whether you enjoy the basics first.

4. What is a common misconception about working in construction?

It looks simple from the outside when really there’s a lot of intricate work that goes into building.

5. How has working in construction bettered your life?

Having to think about each step and working towards a goal each day/week.

6. Why did you get into construction?

I’ve never been one to sit behind a desk, have always been a hands on/physical person.

Charlie – AQS, Stonewood Homes (Chartered Quantity Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship at UWE)

1. What do you enjoy the most about working in construction?

One of the things I enjoy about construction is the apprenticeship system that enables me to earn a living while doing my qualifications. I have been at Stonewood since July 2021, in that time I have completed a HNC in Construction and I am now in the 1st year of my 3-year degree. By the time I finish my degree I will be 5 years into my career and progressing on to do my chartership through Stonewood.

 2. What has been the most difficult part of being an apprentice and how did you overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenge with completing a degree apprenticeship is the workload that comes with part-time studying. I have day-leave once a week to attend university where I spend my day in lectures and I spend the rest of the week in the office. This means all of my studying, revision, and coursework is completed in my free time. It can be quite unsociable at times when deadlines are approaching.

3. What would you say to anyone considering getting into the industry?

There is a great career in construction for anyone who is passionate and hardworking. It can be demanding, so if you are not passionate, it makes it harder when the going gets tough. But if you can be resilient in the tougher times and you enjoy working in the industry, there are great career opportunities that cater to different skill sets.

4. What is a common misconception about working in construction?

A common misconception about the construction industry is that all new build homes are built with a focus on profit to the detriment of quality. While this may be true in some cases, there are developers like Stonewood Homes that are focused on building high quality, sustainable new build homes which we are proud to sell to our customers.

 5. How has working in construction bettered your life?

Working in construction has taught me what real hard work looks like and added to my character as a person. I started out in the industry working on site labouring for bricklayers for a little over a year. This made me appreciate what it really means to work hard when you are physically tired, it’s cold outside, your body hurts from the day before, but you still have to show up and put in a shift!

6. Why did you get into construction?

I got in to construction because I’ve been surrounded by it my whole life and have always been interested in house building. I did well in sixth form and started to look into the career options in construction and I chose to pursue quantity surveying.