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UK developer calls for more apprenticeship opportunities

As youth unemployment levels reach record highs in the UK, with 22% of 16 to 22 year olds currently without work, apprenticeship schemes are seen as one of the best ways to help promote long term skills growth in the sector.
Andy Hill, chief executive of developer and contractor Hill, said that he is committed to apprenticeship schemes. ‘These are difficult times in the construction market, but there is a wealth of resourceful young people who are willing to work and learn on the job, and they represent the future,’ he added.

‘Recently I have been impressed with the calibre of our apprentices and I enjoy giving these young people a chance. Once the apprentice reaches a certain skill level they become commercially valuable to their employer, benefiting everyone involved. As business owners we have a responsibility to our industry to grow and train our workforce, so I urge more companies to take up these schemes this year,’ he added.

Hill’s Craft Apprentice Training Scheme (CATS) is now in its second year and the company has already offered 22 apprenticeships in a range of vocational skills across a variety of trades, from groundworks to painting and decorating.

One apprentice who successfully completed his full framework NVQ Level 2 in site carpentry with Hill this month, is Sam Gillies, aged 19. He joined Hill directly from college in January 2011 and worked on three of its large construction sites: Friends School in Saffron Walden, Loves Farm in St Neots and Calton House in Hertford, where he honed his skills in carpentry. Upon completing his apprenticeship, Sam has been offered permanent work with Hill contractor, CS Carpentry Contractors.

‘During my year at Hill I have had the chance to work on three technically varied sites, which allowed me to gain invaluable experience and learn craft-based skills, such as hand-cutting roof trusses. The employment market is a difficult place for young people, but with this apprenticeship and my qualification it is great that they have now offered me the chance to work with them full time,’ said Gillies.

‘While working with Hill, we became involved in their apprenticeship programme which is important for bringing newly qualified carpenters into the industry. I am delighted to offer Sam the opportunity to continue working with my team on our projects across East Anglia,’ said Chris Seymour, director of CS Carpentry Contractors.