To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week, ICC Member Home Fix Scotland caught up with two of their apprentices to discuss some of the benefits and challenges they’ve faced so far.
After completing school, Connor and Kyle both wanted to pursue a more ‘hands on’ career and applied for Home Fix Scotland’s Joinery Apprenticeship scheme in 2019. Like many young people, they didn’t feel that continuing with full-time education was the right path for them. After some encouragement from family and friends, the pair enrolled on the four-year apprenticeship course.
Three years on and one pandemic later, the duo continue to go from strength to strength. Since then, they have developed essential skills and a passion for woodworking that has put them on track for a rewarding and successful career.
To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Connor, 24, and Kyle, 19, have updated us on their journey and explained why they believe apprenticeships provide a route into a rewarding and diverse career and some of the challenges they have had to overcome.
Discussing why he entered woodworking, Connor explained, “it was something different and represented a unique opportunity to get a trade and learn some new skills.” For Connor, however, it was more personal, acknowledging that “it’s something I’ve always been interested in, particularly as my dad is a joiner.”
After completing their two years at college, the pair are relishing the prospect of being able to spend more time working on the practical side of things. As much as they enjoyed college and building their portfolios, it is clear that both prefer being ‘on site’.
Working closely with their mentor, Connor and Kyle are currently stationed at St Stephens, where they have been tasked with installing the new kitchens.
The opportunity to work on the 224 new homes development by River Clyde Homes in Port Glasgow, has been personally rewarding for both. “Working alongside other trades has given us a great insight into what’s required on a building site,” said Connor, whilst Kyle added: “Everyone’s been really helpful, and it gives us a chance to develop our skills across a wide range of tasks from fitting kitchens to hanging doors.”
It was this support that proved invaluable in the aftermath of the pandemic where they were both furloughed. For the pair, returning to work and relearning their craft was particularly challenging. “Although it was tough at times, the support we got from Home Fix Scotland was first class,” Connor said. As well as being supported by HR, the apprentices also had access to a range of health and wellbeing services as well as being supported by their peers who provided welfare calls.
Undeterred by such events, their unwavering commitment to the role and learning new skills is evident. “My main goal is focusing on completing the apprenticeship and becoming a fully qualified joiner,” said Kyle, while Connor added: “The apprenticeship has really lived up to my expectations.”
In 2019, the message to those considering an apprenticeship the message was clear. “Go for it!” exclaimed Kyle, “100%, you should do it,” said Connor.
So, in 2022, has anything changed? “Nope. Do not even think about it, just do it!” was the reply.
The pair are just two of six apprentices at Home Fix Scotland, including three apprentice roofers, two joiners and one bricklayer. Inverclyde’s repairs and maintenance contractor has been so impressed with the progress made by the group, that it is hoping to launch a new apprenticeship scheme in the coming months.
Derek Ferguson, Managing Director at Home Fix Scotland said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week underlines the important role apprentices can have on your organization. Success stories like Connor’s and Kyle’s demonstrate that by combining on-the-job learning with academic study, apprenticeships help individuals develop long-lasting skills and knowledge for a rewarding pathway into the construction sector. At Home Fix Scotland, we will continue to invest in the future, and we remain fully committed to supporting our employees in developing their careers.”