Curtis Taylor, Ben Hebden and Matthew Rooney all began their careers as apprentice joiners with the UK housebuilder.
Five years on and now in their early 20s the three men have just become assistant site managers, a position which brings with it a competitive salary, company car, laptop mobile phone and other tools of the trade – at a time when many of their peers will be coming out of university with large debts and are yet to find work.
Karen Jones, Redrow’s HR director says: “Undoubtedly a degree can be a major asset and Redrow invests in a number of graduate and under-graduate training programmes of its own. However, the value of a trade apprenticeship is often vastly under-estimated.
“Curtis, Ben and Matthew had the benefit of earning a wage while they learned their trade. After achieving their NVQ Level 3 in carpentry and joinery in 2010 they went on to become trainee assistant site managers, achieving NVQ Level 3 in site supervision. Each has now reached the level expected of them to take on the assistant site manager role proper and they’re well on their way to becoming future site managers, in charge of every element of construction on one of our housing sites across England and Wales.”
As well as focusing on the necessary construction skills, managing plans and drawings and understanding groundworks, their training has also incorporated time management, customer service and leadership skills.
The success of these three young men should be encouraging news for teenagers picking up their A Level or GCSE results this month and unsure of what the future holds. For those who decide further academic studies are not for them, a trade apprenticeship could be the answer.
“As competition for university places becomes more intense and the cost of fees rockets, learning a trade is a very real alternative and offers a definite route to management, as our own examples show, or self-employment for those apprentices who go on to establish their own successful sub-contracting businesses.” Karen adds.
During his training Curtis Taylor, 22, was named Redrow’s apprentice of the year in 2010. He was also among staff chosen to take part in the housebuilder’s ‘Our Pride ~ Your Joy’ marketing campaign, which extols the quality of workmanship and customer service that goes into building Redrow’s homes so customers can enjoy living in them.
Curtis, now assistant site manager at two developments in Moston and Harpurhey as part of a major regeneration programme in North Manchester, said: “I’m really pleased that I made the decision I did five years ago and that Redrow gave me the opportunity. I have friends leaving university now who can’t get jobs because they don’t have any work experience. I was able to get my qualifications and work at the same time. Now I’m running building sites and managing other employees and sub-contractors on a daily basis. It’s a route I definitely recommend to others.”
Redrow’s employee to apprentice ratio (16:1) is believed to be one of the best in the housebuilding industry and the company has just recruited 20 more apprentices to start work in August.
The Redrow apprenticeship programme combines paid work experience and an NVQ completed over three years.
Apprentices are placed with an experienced and trusted sub-contractor, where they can learn the skills required to do their chosen job whilst working on Redrow developments and also going to college one day a week. They are offered in the core trades of bricklaying, woodcraft and plumbing.
Candidates are asked to register with CITB Construction Skills (CSkills) and must take and pass the CSkills Skills Learning Exercise (SLE) in order to be considered for an apprenticeship. The SLE tests applicants on their understanding of practical information they are likely to require on a building site, such as measurements and drawings, etc.
Redrow’s track record with apprentices, running training programmes for under-graduates and post-graduates plus developing the skills of its existing workforce were instrumental in helping the company be included in Building magazine’s list of best construction industry employers last year.
For more on careers and training with Redrow see www.redrowplc.co.uk/Careers-And-Recruitment.
Editor’s footnote: Redrow Homes is one of the UK’s leading house builders, operating across England and Wales, with a strong emphasis on high quality family housing in prime locations. Its New Heritage Collection of family homes combines traditional looking, ‘Arts & Crafts’ influenced exteriors with bright, modern, high specification interiors. Established more than 35 years, the company has won numerous awards over the years. Redrow received a 5* Award in the Home Builder Federation (HBF) annual customer satisfaction survey in 2011 and 2012; collected the Gold award in the Large Housebuilder category of the 2011 What House? awards; and its ‘Our Pride ~ Your Joy’ campaign was named best marketing initiative at the 2011Housebuilder Awards for innovation and excellence. Web: www.redrow.co.uk.