It’s National Apprenticeship Week and to celebrate, we’re taking a look at our talented and diverse workforce and highlighting our many apprentices, past and present.

First up, meet Gerard O’Malley, an Assistant Project Manager who has been working with Keltbray D&C for the last seven years. Gerard joined as a labourer in August 2013 after deciding on a career change from working as a Youth Support worker in North Wales. When asked about his experience, Gerard had this to say:

“I’ve had some fantastic opportunities since joining Keltbray, including completing the company’s first Level 2 NVQ apprenticeship to become a Demolition Topman. I now work within the Project Management team and I am just starting a Level 6 NVQ for Project Management. I believe apprenticeships are important, especially to younger people, because they give you an unbelievable opportunity to join an incredible company such as Keltbray to learn, develop and forge a career that you didn’t even know was possible.”

Gerard isn’t the only apprentice to join Keltbray from a different industry. Before joining Keltbray in June last year, Matteo Di Giacomo was new to construction:

“This didn’t stop me and I’m really enjoying it. I work as Surveying assistant for the Quantity Surveyor on the Battersea Power Station Project, which is a huge, amazing construction site. At the end of my apprenticeship I aspire to be fully operational as a business admin and one day to move on towards management for the commercial section.”

When asked if he would recommend an apprenticeship with Keltbray, Matteo said:

“I highly suggest it! Do it! Working and studying at the same time is so rewarding. Day by day you will be learning real skills in a real workplace and I believe this is a life experience that hardly any schools deliver.”

Many people wonder, what is it actually like doing an apprenticeship? We asked Yiggon Yiggon in Keltbray Structures who started his Apprenticeship in NVQ Formworks Level 2 last year. He loves his apprenticeship with Keltbray because:

 “It has allowed me to learn a new skill whilst gaining real practical experience in the construction industry, rather than learning and needing to gain experience afterwards. There is a lot of support available and it’s down to me how far I can go. I am learning and earning.”

When asked what he would say to someone just starting out on their journey, Yiggon said:

“It’s an opportunity for you to improve yourself. Don’t give up and you will be able to achieve amazing things.”

This week we also met with Daniel Rabbette who works as a Demolition Operative with Keltbray D&C. He started his two year apprenticeship in 2016 and told us:

“The part that I enjoyed most was having the opportunity to get hands on experience and the chance to learn from my own mistakes. I think apprentices are important because they’re the next generation of talent, and will gain the specialist skills needed to do jobs like ours, and possibly pass the same skills, and maybe more, on to generations in years to come. To someone about to start an apprenticeship I would say that there are no stupid questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask. Also be sure to always show an interest and willingness to get involved.”

As you’ve seen, apprentices are an incredibly important part of our workforce. Georgia Kent is a Learning and Development Administrator in our Training Department and is currently doing an intermediate Apprenticeship in Business Administration, Level 2. Reflecting on her experiences so far, Georgia said:

“The thing I enjoy the most about my apprenticeship is that I am learning and working at the same time. I think apprenticeships are important because people get the chance to work whilst learning and gain a qualification.”

Samantha Bolton is the Office Administrator for Wentworth House Partnership. Samantha started out with Business Administration Level 3, which took just over 12 months, and has now progressed on to bus. Admin Level 4, which she is scheduled to complete in September of this year. This is why she thinks apprenticeships are so important:

“Personally, I always regretted not progressing into higher education when I was younger and although there are opportunities for self-funded distance learning, this was never financially viable for me. As a working mum, the apprenticeship provides a valuable opportunity to work towards a qualification, whilst in employment. It can also be tailored to your job role, so you can improve not only academically but also practically.”

Finally, we spoke with Emma McDonald who is doing her Level 5 Learning & Development Consultant Business Partner Apprenticeship at Keltbray. She believes that:

“Apprenticeships help bridge the skills gap with training being specific to job requirements rather than generic overall training. To anyone just starting out, I would say enjoy the opportunity and take everything in that you are being taught. Work hard and you will gain knowledge and experience that you can continue to use and develop in your working life. It’s still early days for me, but I’m really enjoying researching and learning more about Learning & Development, and how it fits in within a company structure.”