Angmering housebuilder David Wilson Homes is helping to plug the construction skills shortage gap this National Apprenticeship Week (6th-12th February), having recently recruited two new apprentices at its Ecclesden Park development on Water Lane. Fledgling ‘chippies’ Alfie Tanner (17) and Bili Heasman (20) began their Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery apprenticeships with the housebuilder in August 2022.
“No two days are the same,” says Alfie, who splits his time between working with the subcontractors at Ecclesden Park, and Stephenson College in Leicestershire for practical and theoretical training. “We were up on the roofs from day one, learning from the construction team and getting stuck in trying out the tools and building the framework. I’ve since built signs, worked on roofs and helped with the finishing touches on the inside – from the stud work to the skirting, doors and architraves.”
New apprentices with David Wilson Southern Counties can choose to qualify in either carpentry or bricklaying. The 18-month course will see Bili and Alfie gain crucial hands-on training, supported by the expertise of the construction team, and interspersed with block-weeks at Stephenson College where they learn about the construction process in detail, and gain off-site practical training.
“I told myself that you can’t really go wrong with a trade, it’s a skill for life,” says Bili, who is a father and lives locally in Angmering. “I’ve worked as a trainee chef, bar manager and a plumber, but the difference to this is night and day. It’s an intensive course but you don’t need any experience to do it, just a willingness to learn. Every day is an opportunity to learn and the team really want you to grow and succeed.”
Bili plans to complete his course with David Wilson Southern Counties and study towards a Level 3 qualification, while Alfie hopes to secure employment with the carpentry subcontractors at Ecclesden Park. “The great thing about the course is that the door doesn’t close when you achieve the qualification. Lots of apprentices go on to work with David Wilson Southern Counties’ subcontractors, but if you get a good result in your final exam then you can work towards a Level 3 qualification,” Bili adds.
Alongside the hands-on training for apprentices, lessons at Stephenson College cover everything from the land buying process all the way to the latest industry regulations, providing apprentices with a wider insight into the process of building new homes. At the end of the course, apprentices will be challenged with speaking, practical and multiple-choice examinations to complete their qualification.
Kimberley Benson, Sales and Marketing Director for David Wilson Southern Counties, comments: “Skilled tradespeople are the backbone of the construction industry, and it is our responsibility to invest in the next generation, providing much needed jobs and, therefore, housing to local communities. Our flagship apprenticeship scheme is second to none, offering a two-pronged learning approach to gain real experience on a construction site, working in tandem with our award-winning site teams to pass on their knowledge and expertise. Apprentices will also have the opportunity to learn in an academic environment at Stephenson College, helping them to gain the wider knowledge that will give them an unshakable foundation on which to build their career.”
Looking ahead to the future, Bili hopes to start his own business with his brother, who is trained as a bricklayer, while Alfie plans to build his own house one day. Alfie continues: “There will always be a need for skilled tradespeople, and the skills that I’m learning during my apprenticeship are the first step on the path to career success.”
To find out more about the careers available with David Wilson Southern Counties, visit www.barrattcareers.co.uk.
Bili, Alfie and the team are building a range of two, three and four-bedroom homes at Ecclesden Park, where prices start from £369,995 for a two-bedroom house.
To find out more David Wilson Southern Counties or Ecclesden Park, please call 0333 3558 499 or visit www.dwh.co.uk
Building, Design & Construction Magazine | The Choice of Industry Professionals