Working on the landmark Southbank Place development in central London, Kayudo (Kai) is an apprentice at Swift Brickwork, where he is learning a range of onsite skills essential to the UK housebuilding industry through an apprenticeship.
His company is working for developers Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf Group on a mix of commercial offices and some very luxurious apartment blocks with views of the London Eye, River Thames and City of London.
Hi Kai, please tell us about your current role, and the exams and training that has got you there.
My work currently consists of labouring and generally helping out and then there will be other days where I am practising laying blocks. I was given work experience here first and then they offered to take me on as an apprentice. I’m currently doing my NVQ Level 2 on site but I’m not going to college because Swift Brickwork has their own assessor. On top of my usual work, I’ve been given my NVQ coursework to do and keep a diary of what work I do during the week.
When did you first consider training and a career in construction?
When I first came out of young offenders, I wanted to turn my life around and that was when I first considered working in construction. I didn’t feel other industries suited me because I don’t think I could sit in an office all day but construction I could be hands on which is better for me.
How has your employer helped you to your current level of skills and achievement?
My foreman gave me a job so he’s the reason why I’m here today. My supervisor is the one who teaches me how to lay blocks. The company has also put me on the NVQ course to get the necessary qualifications. The work I’m doing is being noticed and that’s all due to the support from the company.
What is it about your line of work that you find most satisfying?
When I build something and I see the finished result – that is the most satisfying part of my job.
Do you think people appreciate the level of hard work and skill needed to pass an apprenticeship?
Honestly, I don’t think people do. They think it’s all easy and going into construction is easy. You have to put in the work if you want to get the results and I don’t think people see that.
What are the exams and experience that you are working to over the next few years?
The written side of bricklaying and understanding the trade I’m going into is what the NVQ is currently teaching me. My foreman has a Level 6 NVQ: I would like to work up to achieve higher level NVQs in the coming years.
Do you have any advice for people considering a career in UK housebuilding?
If you want to do it, make sure you put in the hard work because if you don’t, you won’t get anywhere and people won’t give you anything. Make sure you enjoy it as well because if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t want to go to work every day. To the younger people, stay out of trouble and stay on the straight path because it saves a lot of time and stress.