Six apprentices from two local building projects got together at the end of their contracts in January, to celebrate and talk about the importance of their work and the opportunity given to them by Southern Housing Group and its contractor Jenner.
The apprentices have all been working on Southern Housing Group housing developments at Grange Road in Ramsgate and Maison Dieu Road in Dover. They were appointed through a joint initiative by Southern Housing Group and its contractor, Jenner (Contractors) Ltd.
Jeremy Barkway, Regional Development Manager, Southern Housing Group has said: “Providing opportunities for local people to gain work experience through apprenticeships is a key priority for Southern Housing Group. We stipulate that apprenticeships and training opportunities must be generated as a condition of our contract, and we are very pleased that such a wide range of training has been achieved. “
“Due to the housing and employment crisis, it is increasingly important that as part of our development strategy, we do as much as we can to support local employment opportunities within the communities in which we work in.
Southern Housing Group’s’ main contractor Jenner, employed local sub-contractors Andy Oakes Painting and Decorating; S W Flooring and C & C Carpentry to deliver the development projects.
Meet the apprentices
Name: Steven Age: 18 Lives: St Peters Steven secured an apprenticeship with Jenner as Trainee Assistant Site Manager at Grange Road when the project started back in September 2011. He is studying for a level 3 BTEC Diploma in construction at the K College in Ashford.
Name: Sam Age: 18 Lives: Margate Sam is an apprentice painter and decorator with Andy Oakes Painting and Decorating. Under his apprenticeship with Andy Oakes, he is being supported to study two days a week at Thanet College.
Name: Kris Age: 16 Lives: Eastry Kris the, youngest of the apprentices, was a student at Sandwich Technology College before landing an apprenticeship with S W Flooring just one week after leaving school. He first worked at the Maison Dieu Road site in Dover before moving on to the Grange Road site.
Name: Emily Age: 22 Lives: Folkestone Emily has been working as a Trainee Assistant Site Manager for Jenner since November 2011 and was based at Maison Dieu housing development until it completed in December 2012. Emily has now moved on to another Jenner project in Kent, where this time she will be involved in building a new school.
Names: Tom & Sam Ages: 23 & 17 Lives: Whitstable & Herne Bay
Kent carpentry firm C & C Carpentry provided apprenticeship opportunities for both Tom and Sam who are studying carpentry at Canterbury College one day a week.
The apprentices rely on either public transport or lifts from friends to get to work, so finding a local apprenticeship was important to them. Southern Housing Group is creating more and more training and employment opportunities for local people when it builds new affordable homes. This is part of our commitment to investing in local communities and unlocking the potential of both people and places.
Kris, who hadn’t previously considered a career in construction until local firm S W Flooring spent a morning talking to students at his school, commented that: “Lots of my friends haven’t been able to get any work since leaving school”.
Kris is now being trained at S W Flooring’s training centre and working the rest of the week at Southern Housing Group’s Grange Road development in Ramsgate. He is enjoying the variety of the work, and says that he is also looking forward to supervising apprentices himself in a few years time.
When asked how he felt about Southern Housing Group’s commitment to creating apprenticeships, Kris says: “This is definitely for me, it’s much better than college – here you get paid while you’re learning!”
Steven Dean agreed with him adding that for him, as his experience on the Southern Housing Group site has grown, things have become more and more interesting. “It’s great to have something you can really get your teeth into” says Steve. Steve has enjoyed seeing a construction project through from start to finish, and is looking forward to gaining different types of experience in his next posting with Jenner.
Tom, who previously worked as a security guard before deciding on a career in carpentry and who is now employed by C & C Carpentry, says: “I am so much happier now that I’m doing this. This is something that I enjoy, that I’m interested in and is definitely something that I want to take further.”
Martin Sandall, Managing Director, Jenner (Contractors) Ltd stated “Jenner is proud to have worked in partnership with Southern Housing at Grange Road, Ramsgate and Maison Dieu, Dover to provide modern high quality residential accommodation in these communities”.
“We have been a keen supporter of the apprenticeship programme over the years and therefore we were delighted to work alongside Southern Housing to create employment opportunities for young people during the construction of these schemes. This initiative has enabled both ourselves and our supply chain to employ some excellent young talent that promise to have a bright future within the construction industry.”
At the end of the session, after much debating about the various aspects of their jobs, the apprentices all agreed on one fundamental point; that they each get a very real and tremendous sense of satisfaction from seeing what they have physically been able to achieve. Sam Robson sums it up perfectly when he says: “It’s nice to walk around the site and see things and get the satisfaction of thinking ‘I did that.’ I look around and I think, that staircase will be there for years and years, and I helped build it”.