Site manager Dave Monk is busy overseeing the training and development of an apprentice team at Bellway’s Liberty new homes project in Nottingham – and among them are two of his own children.
Son Tyler has just finished a three-year apprenticeship and is now a qualified carpenter and joiner, with daughter India, has started a painting and decorating apprenticeship being supported by a new partnership between Bellway and Geason Training.
The proud father says: “It’s important that parents encourage their children to come into the construction industry. There’s a serious lack of apprentices, yet it’s such a good industry to work in. I’ve been in construction since I was 15-years-old. It’s such a skill to work with your hands and gives a real sense of achievement. And people will always need homes.
“I’m a bricklayer by trade and we joke that I’m hoping my other two daughters [currently aged five and eight!] will become a plumber and electrician – then we’ll have all the trades for an entire house!”
Also in the team is joinery apprentice Finley Wilkinson, and family connections are important to him too, as his career in the industry has been inspired by dad Lee, who is the construction director for Bellway East Midlands.
Inspired by her father’s explanation of what the apprenticeship offers, 17-year-old art fanatic India says: “I had no idea what I wanted to do after my GCSEs but I’ve always been an arty person and I did a lot of art in my own time. I never liked the thought of sitting behind a desk so painting and decorating really appealed to me.”
The only female on-site worker at the scheme, India believes skilled careers in housebuilding are a great option that more young women should seriously consider: “I think there needs to be more women in construction as there are great opportunities in this industry. And we see things differently to the men, so it gives the team a different perspective. My friends thought I was brave as they wouldn’t have liked being the only girl. But I’m used to my dad and brother at home so I thought: bring on the challenge!”
19-year-old Tyler, rated as a top student in Level 3 Carpentry and Joinery by his tutors at Vision West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield was much more certain about the job he wanted after leaving school: “I think I was always going to be in some form of construction. Both my grandfathers are builders and obviously so is my dad. I really enjoy working with my hands. I don’t think I could do an office job at the moment, though it might be something for the future if I transfer into management.”
Finley is 17-years-old and studying the second year of his apprenticeship and spending one day a week at Nottingham College. His father and two grandfathers and have also worked in the construction industry. He says: “I just wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps really. It just seemed interesting when I was young. It’s satisfying to have a creative job, where you make something useful at the end.”
Dave is proud of the way that Bellway manages its team of apprentices and tailors development timetables to accommodate their learning. He explains: “It would take a qualified joiner two to three days to do a second fix on a house, but about six to seven days for an apprentice, but it has to be that way to ensure they learn the skills that are needed. We make sure we manage the build programme to take that into account and that’s something that Bellway really appreciate.”