Redrow housebuilding degree is first class, say North West pair
Liam Sargeant and Shane Jones, both assistant site managers at Woodford Garden Village, in Cheshire, have almost completed the first year of the innovative degree introduced in conjunction with Liverpool John Moores University.
Shane said: “I never thought I would get, or study for, a degree, so it’s a great opportunity for me. I am learning so much more and developing an even greater understanding of the industry, which will help me do my job even better.”
And former Redrow, England and GB Apprentice of the Year Liam added: “It is a challenge with so much to fit in alongside work on site but definitely worth it. I have always had big ambitions and the degree course will help me to achieve them. I’m really fortunate, and so lucky to have the support and backing of Redrow.”
The three-year ‘Construction Management – Housebuilding’ degree was developed by Redrow in partnership with Liverpool JMU and Coleg Cambria, one of the UK’s largest colleges. It’s further evidence of how Redrow values its people and demonstrates the commitment which, in 2016, helped Redrow become the first housebuilder to achieve the Quality Mark from the British Institute of Learning and Development. Redrow has also been a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer for five consecutive years.
The new degree course will see students study six modules each year covering different areas of housebuilding, including quality, project management, health and safety, business skills and negotiations, through to aspects of law, mathematics and economics.
They will be assessed via a combination of examination, coursework and a final year dissertation project; together with site visits, virtual learning and tutorials, while carrying on with their day-to-day roles.
Shane, 31, from Bramhall, has been with Redrow for two years, after a varied career which has seen him as an apprentice joiner elsewhere and serving time in the Armed Forces.
Now an assistant site manager at Woodford Garden Village, Shane explained: “I left school at 16 not knowing what I wanted to do. I never did well and left without any GCSEs.
“After training to be a joiner and spending time in the Forces, I joined Redrow as a finishing foreman and have just gone on from there. The degree was explained as a possibility for those who are driven and passionate about what they do, and I am.
“We do a week at university and then several weeks on site, as well as other learning. Time management is an issue, it’s a demanding degree course, but you put in what you expect to get out. The teachers are amazing.
“We’ve looked at health and safety, surveying and business theories in the first year, and it is already giving me a more in-depth knowledge of the business. It will be such an achievement for me to get a degree and will hopefully lead to a higher managerial role within Redrow.”
Liam, 23, from Great Sankey in Warrington, has already proved himself with the company having won numerous apprenticeship awards - he was voted England and overall GB Apprentice of the Year in 2015 by the Construction Industry Training Board; and Apprentice/New Starter at the Builder and Engineer Awards before that.
The former bricklayer is now an assistant site manager at the newest phase of Woodford Garden Village, Vulcan Grove, and is determined to keep moving forward.
“The degree is definitely worth all the hard work and it’s funded by the company. The support and encouragement offered by Redrow is incredible,” Liam said.
“Learning more about the industry helps you to develop a greater knowledge of it and a better understanding of all areas of housebuilding, which is useful both now and in the future.
“We have studied so many different aspects from health and safety to sales structure and, as well as understanding the business better for yourself, you begin to understand other people’s roles and the pressures they are under too.”
At present, the degree course is open to current employees who have a level three qualification, or a minimum five years in the industry; however, over the coming years, Redrow hopes to open the degree out more widely to other housebuilders.
Karen Jones, Group HR director at Redrow and a trustee of the Construction Industry Training Board, said: “The housebuilding sector has the opportunity to innovate the way we develop and offer skills and training with this degree course, to ensure those within Redrow – and eventually those outside the company – can enhance and develop their potential.
“Liam and Shane have grabbed this opportunity with both hands and are already reaping the benefits, in terms of what they are achieving for themselves, and what they are already giving back to Redrow.”
The Redrow business has circa 2,400 direct employees and around 15% of those are apprentices, graduates or sponsored trainees. For more information about Redrow career opportunities and training, visit www.redrowcareers.co.uk