Solihull students are building their future

Four groups of Solihull College & University Centre’s bricklaying students have completed work experience at one of the UK’s most successful house builders, Persimmon Homes.  The student’s impressive commitment and drive over the summer has subsequently led to 5 taking up bricklaying apprenticeships with the company.

Students gave up time in their summer holiday to carry out the initial work experience placement. They followed a training matrix that follows City & Guilds basic on-site training.  Working on site with experienced builders they learned a variety of skills alongside bricklaying, including health and safety, classroom tuition on manual handling and housekeeping.  Among their achievements, was the completion of a structure to contain an electrical substation.

Site Manager Andy Feeney stated, ‘It has been a great experience for both the older workers on site and for the apprentices.  I was delighted to have the opportunity and was astounded by the work ethic of all the college’s students.  The way they turned up every day in all sorts of weather and to attend to a work environment without pay for 10 days with virtually no absenteeism was highly commendable.  They are a great advert for the college and for the attitudes (oft maligned) of our young people.’

Persimmon Homes South Midlands Construction Director, Andy Harper, confirmed that “we have enjoyed every minute of the work experience programme and the students are a true credit to the college.  There is currently a shift towards smaller gangs with a rebalancing of the workforce across the house building sector.  Apprenticeships are the way forward as there is a distinct lack of skilled trades and they offer a fantastic quality of life as apprentices earn as they learn, experience a sense of achievement and provide a solid foundation to successful career progression.” 

The apprenticeships which have been accepted are initially 1 year in duration and started on Monday, 9th October 2017 at the company’s development in Bidford on Avon.  Site Manager, Andy Feeney, who worked with the students on work experience will be managing and monitoring their progression whilst Robert Bayliss ‘Apprentice Master’, a City and Guilds qualified tutor, will be working alongside the apprentices to ensure that their apprenticeship journey is a successful one. The apprentices will have 4 days on site and one day at college. Subject to how they perform both on-site and at college , there is the potential for further employment in a number of different areas within Persimmon Homes South Midlands who have 5 or 6 site opening over the next 6 months and more in the pipeline.