Spotlight on Talent – Jenni Birchill
Studying – Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery Apprenticeship Standard
Careers advice from her dad and ‘how to’ videos on YouTube led Jenni Birchill to a career in carpentry. Her training began in September 2021 as an apprentice with Lovell Homes.
Working on housing development projects allows Jenni to continue developing her site carpentry skills and knowledge, particularly in roofing where the first fix involves structural work and the second fix finishes the property structure. She also supports team mates in fitting joists (beams) together to support a floor or ceiling
Even now, Jenni is impressed by the scale and intensity of the work carried out on site.
“When I first started here, I was shocked by the amount of work people get through to meet project deadlines,” said Jenni. “It still amazes me.
“Initially, I wasn’t too sure the quality of my work would ever match the other more experienced site carpenters. But I learned to push myself and come through any challenges. And both Lovell and the college have helped me learn and improve at my own pace.
“This has allowed me to settle into my role so that I can look back at a property, see exactly what I’ve contributed and be proud of myself.”
This sense of achievement confirms to Jenni that she chose the right career and pathway to help her succeed.
“I think learning on the job is really valuable to someone first starting out,” said Jenni. “You pick up so much experience as an apprentice that’s ‘for real’. You absorb everything; not just the tasks you’re involved in but the things that people around you are working on too.
“It’s good being part of a team you get on well with. Yes, there’s always lots to do but we have a laugh together as well.
“You also make plenty of contacts, including your colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers.”
Once she’s completed her Level 2 qualification, Jenni is aware of the study and career progression opportunities available to her at Level 3 and beyond, whether that involves staying on site, becoming self-employed, moving into site management or into another area of the construction industry.
“Not that I plan on going anywhere,” Jenni added. “100% this is where I belong.”