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Thursday, July 18, 2024

‘VETERAN’ APPRENTICES INSPIRE NEW TRAINEES – COST OF LIVING CRISIS SPARKS YOUNG PEOPLE TO RECONSIDER THEIR CAREER CHOICE WITH SOARING UPTAKE IN APPRENTICESHIPS 

THE latest recruits to Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme have picked up plenty of tips for a successful career after meeting two former apprentices. 

Liam Brown, 20, an apprentice groundworker and Joseph Potsig, 18, an apprentice joiner, both working in Halewood, met up with head of construction Shaun Phoenix and joinery contracts manager Lee Serrio, who both joined Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme back in 1994. 

Shaun, 45, started life at Redrow’s former Lee based office as an apprentice joiner aged 16. His rise to the top has seen him take on the roles of site joiner, assistant site manager, site manager, project manager, area build manager and today he heads up the construction department for Redrow Lancashire. 

“Redrow is committed to growing its own talent and I am testament to that. If you want to work hard and build your career, the company will nurture you, provide training and back you all the way,” said Shaun, from Leigh. 

“I wish Liam and Joseph all the very best in their careers, I know they will do well.” 

Lee, 47, has worked as a sub-contractor for Redrow for the past 16 years, working for R Joyce Joinery Limited. 

“I joined Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme in Lancashire in 1994 when I was 18, said Lee, who lives in Wigan with his wife and daughter. “I left school and couldn’t get a job. Redrow had a new development across the road from my parent’s house and I told my mum I’d like to work for them as they built nice houses. 

“I sent out a letter and secured an interview, although my mum had to do a bit of persuasion as back the Redrow wanted apprentices straight from school… Fortunately, they liked me at interview, and I was soon enrolled on the apprenticeship scheme.”

Lee spent his three-year apprenticeship working on a number of developments with the Lancashire team, alternating spending five weeks at college and five weeks working on site. 

Once qualified Lee worked as a joiner and then a site manager, before becoming a joinery contracts manager.  

“I worked hard, and it paid off. Now I’ve got a career I’m proud of and that’s down to the start I had with Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme,” said Lee. 

“Redrow look after their team and apprentices and I wish Liam and Joseph the very best in their careers – you can tell already they have the passion to do really well.” 

Liam Brown, from Hightown, and Joseph Potsig, from Widnes, will spend their 22-month long apprenticeship at Redrow’s The Finches at Hilton Grange development in Halewood. 

Liam and Jospeh will both work alongside Redrow’s site management team and under the guidance of an experienced sub-contractor. 

Back row, L-R Shaun Pheonix and Huw Williams. Front row, L-R Lee Serrio, Liam Brown and Joseph Potsig.

Open to anyone over the age of 16, Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme covers key housing trades, including bricklaying and groundworks, as well as administration and technical roles within its offices.

Trade apprentices’ time is split between working on site and college-based study that will provide the apprentice with essential industry qualifications. 

“I work with a civil engineering company onsite, working on internal and external draining, block paving and flagging,” said Liam, who lives with his parents in Hightown.

“I heard about Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme online. It’s really good and I know that Redrow look after their team. I have one day a week release to Salford College where we work on health and safety and theory but also practical skills too. 

“I learnt about dropping curbs last week, so we are learning skills that I can bring back with me on site.” 

Joseph, who lives in a Redrow home with his parents in Widnes, was informed about the apprenticeship scheme by a family member. 

“I’ve lived in a Redrow home, so I’ve seen the craftsmanship and know they build good houses,” said Joseph. 

“I work with a team of joiners and we’re currently working on the second fix, which is work carried out after the plastering has been completed. Tasks include fixing skirting boards, internal doors and window frames. 

“I too have a day release attending Riverside College in Widnes, working on both theory and practical. I would definitely recommend Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme for anyone thinking about a career in the construction industry.” 

The apprentices are all employed by Redrow but supervised and mentored by established sub-contractors who teach them their trade. They also come under the overall supervision of Huw Williams, who has overseen the apprenticeship scheme in Lancashire for the past 18 months. 

“Our training department based at Tamworth advertises our apprenticeships on offer, then out of the dozens of applications they receive I am sent the best applications for the role here in Lancashire,” said Huw, who joined Redrow Lancashire in 2001 originally as a site manager.

“We currently have 16 apprentices working with us and will be taking on more this year. 

“Redrow’s apprenticeship scheme offers very impressive on the job learning and thanks to our local colleges it is backed up with theory work too.  It is a great way into the construction industry and enables the apprentice to earn whilst they learn.”

Back row, L-R Shaun Pheonix and Huw Williams. Front row, L-R Lee Serrio, Liam Brown and Joseph Potsig.

AHEAD of National Apprenticeship Week (February 6 – 12, 2023), new research from premium housebuilder Redrow reveals that 27% of young adults (16 to 24) in the North West are re-evaluating their finances and career choices because of the cost-of-living crisis, prioritising apprenticeships over higher education.

The UK-wide survey of 1,000 young adults found that of those in the North West 42% say the rise in the cost of living has made them want to earn more money in the future, and more than half (59%) think they will earn more than their parents in their lifetime.

Half (50%) of those aged 16 to 24 in the North West view apprenticeships as opportunities to earn by not incurring student debt, 42% associate them with offering greater financial independence at an earlier age and 23% appreciate having more mentoring and coaching opportunities on the job. 

Perception Gaps

Although apprenticeships are growing in popularity amongst young people, it seems some perceptions are not so encouraging. UK wide two in three (68%) believe that there is a general stigma associated with being an apprentice rather than pursuing higher education.

When asked about the advice they’ve been given, half (49%) of young people surveyed agreed their school hadn’t encouraged apprenticeship routes and two in five (41%) were not told anything about apprenticeships – the highest level since 2017. This is compared to three quarters (72%) who agreed that going to university was more encouraged at school. 

However, perceptions may be shifting, especially amongst the older generation as nearly two thirds (63%) of parents with 16- to 21-year-old children agree that encouraging their children to undertake an apprenticeship allows them to earn money while studying and not incurring student debt.

Top 5 Benefits of apprenticeships vs university  according to 16–24-year-olds
1Earn salary whilst learning58%
2Gain practical work experience45%
3Avoid student debt44%
4Learn from industry experts42%
5Progression and promotion will be easier because of practical experience37%

Building A Career

When looking at different industries, two in three young adults believe careers in construction are often overlooked with only a quarter (24%) of young people considering one. When asked what would make the industry more attractive, 60% of young people said long term career opportunities and seeing the impact of their work in real life. 

16–24-year-olds believe they’re already getting a head start on their skill set, with 45% saying time spent playing video games such as Minecraft and The Sims enhances the necessary transferable skills for real world jobs like construction.

Top 10 careers parents would encourage their children into
1Engineer20%
2IT18%
3Finance17%
4Medicine16%
5Lawyer14%
=Teacher14%
7Electrician13%
8Construction12%
9Plumber9%
10Marketing7%

Karen Jones, HR Director for Redrow said, “Many young people are reconsidering their career options amidst the cost-of-living crisis and apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to earn while you learn. Breaking the stigma and offering more information for schools and parents to promote the benefits amongst young people will help promote the skills for life. Redrow will once again be hiring a wide range of apprentices this year – we encourage anyone who is interested and looking for a rewarding start to their career to apply.”

This National Apprenticeship Week Redrow is encouraging more young people to consider a career in construction with over 70 nationwide trade positions being released this February.  To find out more, please visit: www.redrowplc.co.uk/apprentices. 

For further information about becoming an apprentice with Redrow and other career opportunities visit: www.redrowcareers.co.uk 

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