Apprentice carpenter Otis Simpson has just become Lovell’s newest recruit to its construction team at The Mill, the 800-home new urban village in Canton, Cardiff – and the company’s 100th employee in the South Wales and South West region.
The 21-year-old local man has begun his career in construction following attending a Skills Academy and the Prince’s Trust Get into Construction course, which was based at this very development last year. Designed to give unemployed local young adults a taste of the construction industry and help them find a job in that sector, Otis has become a great example of what can be achieved with talent and determination.
His role allows him to mix gaining practical experience with the experienced team on site at The Mill as he prepares to begin working towards his NVQ Level 2 Carpentry Diploma, where he will attend college one day a week.
“I thought the course was a chance to get some experience for my CV and would probably lead to me labouring on site: I never thought it would result in an apprenticeship,” he says. “I feel like I’ve really landed on my feet. The apprenticeship is a good pathway to be on and will open up opportunities for me. I’ll be able to widen my experience of different trades and there’s also the option to move into management.
“What I like about the job is that you see your work at the end of the day; I’m the sort of person who can’t stand still, I like to be busy and feel I’m actually doing something. This is a really big site and the experience I’m getting will be valuable for the rest of my career. Working on the scheme means a lot to me – I’m from the Canton area and in the future I’ll be able to drive past and say I was part of it.”
Six young people are currently undertaking apprenticeships at The Mill with Lovell and its subcontractor firms, and the housebuilder will also recruit a further 15 apprentices across South Wales and the South West in 2018.
Lovell’s regional managing director Kate Rees says: “Otis is making the most of this opportunity to start his career with us. Together with the other apprentices and trainees at The Mill, he is a brilliant demonstration of the wider opportunities which The Mill is generating for local people. As our 100th employee in the region, his appointment is also a significant milestone for the business’s continuing expansion.”
Come to listen and talk about housebuilding careers – apprenticeship, diversity, training and leadership – at our New Homes Debate in London on Thursday 15 March 2018.