A successful example of the value of apprentices can be found on one Sheffield housing scheme. Not only does the Sicey Pavilion Apartments development in Shiregreen provide homes for local people – but local people are also helping with the build.
And that includes ‘home grown’ talent – five young apprentices who live just a few hundred yards away.
The five are helping with the construction of Sanctuary Housing’s Sicey Pavilion Apartments – a £2.2m apartment development for the over-55s which completes in April. 19-year-old Connor Bamford, Redd Kempton (18) and Matt Powell (19) are apprentice joiners. Ryan Petch (18) is an apprentice bricklayer and Kieran Truman (20) is an apprentice in maintenance operations.
Sanctuary’s building contractor Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) successfully employs apprentices on all its schemes – including its work at Shiregreen – and aims to bolster employment in the area they work by taking on talented young people, generating sustained wealth within the local communities.
Contracts director Paul Senior chose National Apprentice Week to visit the development at Sicey Avenue to view its progress and to congratulate the apprentices on their hard work during the scheme. During the last 22 years at FHM, Paul has been a real advocate for trainees and apprentices. He firmly believes in supporting people into work and eradicating unemployment and the skills shortage the construction industry faces today.
Jan Hodgett, the FHM training manager who co-ordinates more than 25 FHM apprentices employed by the Yorkshire and East Midlands business unit, said: “FHM is really committed to helping young people. We found the apprentices at a local job fair which we held on the estate. We took them on two years ago.
“Having local apprentices is great because it gives them ownership, and they are very proud of what they are doing. FHM knows that this can help with unemployment, as well as find really talented young people within local communities.”
Connor Bamford, said: “This scheme is really close to where I live. I come from Shiregreen and so I love that I am one of the apprentices working on the development.”
Connor is training for a joinery qualification at The Sheffield College and working, too. He’s been fitting kitchens and doors and learning invaluable skills in an area he hopes to make a successful career within.
He added: “Once you’ve done something so many times you become confident about doing it, so it’s great to get the hands-on experience.
“It’s also good to have the chance to make mistakes and have someone there who knows what they’re doing to put it right. I’ve been working with different people and there’s something new to learn all the time. No-one else in my family has done joinery so it’s great to learn a new skill.
“I want to have my own business one day so I know if I knuckle down I can finish my apprenticeship in another year and then I’m on the way to getting there. It’s not just about the work you do, it’s also about having a professional attitude. It’s important to be polite when you’re going into peoples’ homes and getting on with them, and the apprenticeship teaches you how the job is done in all kinds of ways.
“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to other people. When I started mine I was in the first year at college and straight away I started doing a lot of work on-site, it was a real move forward. If I have my own company one day, and this will be where it all started.”
Sanctuary Housing Group development manager Rob Harbourne said: "We are committed to helping young people to access training and work. Shiregreen is an example of how we are working with our partners to ensure these opportunities are available to the local communities in which we operate.”
Jonathan Woodhead, project manager at FHM, oversees the apprentices. He said: "The team of young trainees has given the project a boost. The FHM apprenticeships are going really well. They live in Shiregreen so they have a real affection for the area and know the people here. It works both ways, they get a lot out of it and we get a really enthusiastic workforce. They're a good set of lads and I think they’ve had a big boost from seeing the changes they’re making as well as the positive difference to a community. It's the feel good factor all round, really.
"Our apprentices are a good example of what apprenticeships can do for young people. When they first started they were quiet lads. But they have all come out of their shells now – it’s fantastic to see. When you look at the changes in all of them you realise how important apprenticeships are.
A former trainee with FHM himself, Jonny did a construction management degree before his apprenticeship. It closes the gap between theory and practice and crucially gets you out meeting people, Jonny said: "It's been a pleasure to watch the five apprentices' progress and I feel like we've played a part in it."