John James Agar – Bricklayer Apprentice
“I was on a bricklaying course at Bexley College when my tutor mentioned that Wates were offering apprenticeships at the Erith Park regeneration site.
I was lucky enough to get the position, and I’m now much happier as an apprentice than as a full time student. Working here has also widened my horizons as I’ve travelled to Erith to work.
Everyone tells me I will be a good bricklayer as long as I stick at it. I want to be first choice in any project on site.
Longer term, my aim is to get my level 3 NVQ and I think I could be a foreman or charge hand in about 18 months. Eventually I’d like to have my own business and be my own boss.”
Jo Ridler – Bricklayer Apprentice
“I was on a multi-skills and bricklaying course at Bexley College when my tutor put me forward for the apprenticeship.
I used to be shy but the experience of working on site has given me more confidence amongst other people. I’ve also been taught things from a wider perspective, learning about health and safety and insulation.
I’d like to use my skills to travel, working in other countries and gaining different experiences.”
Kerris – Bricklaying Apprentice
“The best thing about working at Erith Park is that it’s local, and it’s a big site. I’ve learnt so much from my apprenticeship so far. I now have more experience and am faster with my bricklaying skills.
If other women are interested in getting into the construction industry I would tell them to go for it. You need a good sense of humour. And you must like working outdoors and not mind getting dirty, wet and cold.
I can’t sit at a desk. I need to be active, so I enjoying doing something practical building different kinds of walls.”
Luke – Labourer
“I’ve previously worked in retail and as a mechanic, but I was unemployed before I started working here.
I was always in trouble and used to get arrested several times a week. So I was pleased when I was referred to Changing Paths through my probation officer, as I’d always wanted to get into construction.
The team here are really good and don’t judge you just because you’ve been on probation. It’s also great to have my own money. My family aren’t worried about me anymore and I’m not to looking over my shoulder all the time. I’m proud to have a job and feel good about myself.
I wish I’d been able to find out about these opportunities without getting into trouble first. There should be more publicity about apprenticeships and CSCS cards for people over 25.
This has been a great opportunity and I know it’s up to me what I make of it.”
Nathan – Bricklaying Apprentice
“My granddad was a builder, and I got into bricklaying after my college teachers encouraged me to take the opportunity. If others want to get into the industry I would advise they go to college and get involved in a course and develop their skills.
Working here is good. Everyone helps me to improve and learn new skills. I have learnt how to build a long stretch of walls, and how to get faster. I am getting more experienced and have learnt how to work as part of a team. Working here gets you used to working on big sites, and gives you an idea of all aspects of construction.
I would like to go on to do a level 3 course in bricklaying and become a supervisor.”