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Back to basics for building boss Shaun

Area construction manager Shaun Phoenix went back to his roots when he changed places for a day with apprentice joiner Joe Joyce in Liverpool.

He took up his tools again for one of the company’s sub-contractors Bob Joyce, boss of RJ Joinery (and also Joe’s uncle), who was Shaun’s mentor when he started with Redrow as a 16-year-old apprentice himself.

Shaun said: “It was great to get back and work with Bob again. And it was like riding a bike – you never forget it.”

Shaun and Joe, 19, from Speke, had made the pledge to swap jobs as part of the recently celebrated National Apprenticeship Week, and it happened as Redrow embarks on a UK-wide plan to recruit 100 new apprentices in 2017 as part of its ongoing commitment to training the talent of the future within the construction industry.

“There just aren’t enough people coming through,” said Shaun, 39, from Leigh, “so it’s really important we promote apprenticeships as a great way of learning a skill and developing a career while doing the job, and getting paid for it.

“It’s a chance for young people to get their hands dirty from the start and learn from experienced builders – people who have been there and know exactly what they are going through – for three or four years, before spreading their wings once they are qualified.

“And for those who decide they want to go further in the industry and, possibly, pursue a career at a different level, there are plenty of opportunities too.”

He added: “If you do consider being an apprentice Redrow is one the best companies to work for because they invest in people. They support and motivate them when they are training and encourage them if they show a desire to go further.”

For the jobswap day Shaun gave up his role managing several Liverpool developments, including Redbridge Park in Fazakerley and Knight’s Park in Woolton, both part of the Liverpool Housing Partnership. The LHP is a joint initiative between Redrow, Liverpool City Council and Liverpool Mutual Homes and Redrow has a commitment to creating local employment and apprenticeships, like Joe’s.

“I couldn’t wait to have a go again. It was as much a chance for me to see how things had changed since I started 24 years ago,” said Shaun. “And I was just glad I was doing it in spring instead of the middle of winter.”

Shaun and Joe chose one of the newest Liverpool sites, the soon to launch Regency Manor in West Derby, to learn a few new lessons.

For Joe, from Speke, it was a chance to go on site and discuss progress with its site manager, review plans and direct the workload, while keeping a constant eye on health and safety issues.

“It was great to see what life is like on the other side,” said Joe, a third year joinery apprentice. “I knew Shaun did loads – but I wasn’t exactly sure what. It is his job to oversee the various sites, manage the health and safety and make sure everyone knows what to do and does it – and I did like the ‘telling’ I’m not going to lie!”

Interestingly Joe originally stayed on at Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (former St Benedict’s) in Garston at 16 with the plan to do A levels in law, business, ICT and digital media, but it was as much to say “I had tried it to family”, he admitted.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I soon realised that the academic route wasn’t for me and joinery, which had always been in my mind, was.”

Joe plans to get at least three years of work as a joiner under his belt before he decides whether the managerial route is for him: “At least then if I’m asking people to do anything I will know what I’m talking about because it will be from experience.

“While I had a laugh with Shaun on the job swap day, it proved to be a really good way of getting an insight into a higher role. And, to be honest, by doing a trade and getting my apprenticeship, I feel as though I have given myself more options than I would have had by staying on at school and going down that route.”

Also following in Shaun’s footsteps, Joe will be employed by RJ Joinery when he completes his apprenticeship later this year.

Over the last five years Redrow has trained more than 430 apprentices, both on site and in office roles, and has recently announced plans to recruit another 100 in 2017.

Redrow Homes (Lancashire), based in Chorley, currently has 15 trade apprentices, nine in their first year, four in their second and two in their third year. They plan to recruit another seven this year.

Clare Horton, new entrant programmes manager at Redrow, said: “At Redrow we champion apprenticeships and are widely recognised for the quality of training and support we offer.”

Redrow nationally has been a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for the last four years.

For more on apprenticeship roles within Redrow and other career opportunities visit

Redrow was established in 1974. Today, it is one of the most successful and acclaimed property developers in the UK, building around 5,000 premium quality family homes a year in prime locations across England and Wales. Over Redrow’s history spanning more than 40 years, it has earned a unique reputation for quality and building beautiful homes, which people love to live in. To help achieve this it also focusses on two other key areas: valuing people and creating outstanding locations. Implementing its strategy whilst engaging with colleagues and stakeholders helps Redrow deliver significant value to investors and the wider community. Redrow is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. For the year ended 30th June 2016, the Group reported record revenues of £1.38 billion. Redrow has been awarded the ‘Best Large Housebuilder’ title twice in the last three years at the What House? Awards. This year, Redrow was named as a UK Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for the fourth consecutive year. Visit for more details.