An award winning apprenticeship scheme between Walsall College and Makers Construction has welcomed its newest recruits, who have joined current apprentices and started their journey towards a career in construction with the Lichfield-based firm.
At the annual British Parking Association (BPA) Awards held in London earlier this year, Makers and Walsall College were acknowledged by the judging committee for their excellent commitment to apprenticeships and the youth of today.
The scheme picked up the Special Jury Award, which is presented by the panel of judges to an exceptional award entry. Judges commented: “The apprenticeship scheme goes above and beyond in its attitude, commitment to youth, recognised skill shortages and dedication to make an apprenticeship of such value resulting in guaranteed employment, and this could not go unrecognised. To commit to a 10-year programme without any government funding showed commitment not only to the industry but should be the way forward.”
When the partnership was first formed, the apprenticeship scheme also received recognition from the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB), where it beat off tough competition to be voted best training programme.
The programme, which takes on trainee site managers, quantity surveyors and estimators, is now in its 3rd year with 9 apprentices currently studying BTEC Level 3 or HNC Level 4 qualifications on a day release basis.
One of the four new recruits is Apprentice Site Manager, Edward Smith (18) who will be studying BTEC Level 3 in the Built Environment. He was attracted to the scheme as it was well established and offered the ability to earn and learn. He said: “I liked the fact that I would be learning from an expert who would take a personal interest in my development and skills. Doing an apprenticeship also meant I could start earning a salary straightway, instead of being burdened by student loans if I went to university.”
Another new starter, James Bate (18) has taken up the position of a Level 4 Apprentice Estimator. James completed his BTEC Level 3 in the Built Environment at Walsall College last year and after winning an outstanding student of the year award, he was recommended to Makers by his tutors.
Simon Lamb, Managing Director at Makers said: “We are amazed at the quality of apprentices we have been able to attract and we are delighted they wanted to join Makers. Each and every one of them will learn and be a successful part of their respective teams. We wish them all well and we will monitor their development throughout the programme.
“We are delighted with Walsall College’s contribution and this is mainly down to the lecturers. For some of our apprentices, higher education was alien to them but the staff have been fantastic and encouraged them all the way. Without the combined effort of the team, the apprenticeship would not be the success it is.”
The 5-year apprenticeship is a combination of day release at college coupled with the ‘on the job learning’ under the guidance of a mentor, including a number of set tasks and modules designed by the company which correspond to the core elements of the business.
Makers are a technical solutions provider in the refurbishment sector and deal with sophisticated products, chemistry and the physical nature of buildings. Apprentices have the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills as well as understanding the chemistry behind the products used, so in the future they too will be able to tailor solutions for the firm’s clients.
To celebrate the success of the partnership and the addition of new talent, staff and apprentices from Makers Construction along with college lecturers enjoyed a three course meal at The Littleton, the college’s bistro restaurant and bar this week.