Over 50 construction trades students, based at our Holly Hill Campus, received a very important professional lecture this week when they were visited by a representative from construction giant, Anderson.
Steve Hammond is the firm’s lead Health and Safety Trainer, he dropped by to talk to students from a number of trade areas including carpentry and joinery, bricklaying, plumbing and electrical installations.
Anderson are currently building a large housing development nearby at Erith Hills. The former quarry site is being converted into houses and a brand new primary school for Bexley Council.
Mr Hammond began by giving the students some statistical background to the construction industry in the UK. It generates over £90 billion annually and has around 194,000 construction firms operating around the country and abroad. There are estimated to be 2.9 million construction jobs with more than 200,000 women working in a range of professional roles.
“Not one of the firms will ever come knocking at your door to offer you a job,” he said,“that is something you need to do; go and knock at doors. Start writing your CVs now and get them sent out as soon as possible. If you don’t hear anything after two to three weeks, get on the phone and give them a call. What employers want you to do is show enthusiasm and energy. They also want to see a well-presented CV with a well-written personal profile. Start working on it now; not at the end of term or halfway through the summer - now!”
Steve went on to tell the students about the number of different ways staff are employed. Most skilled and qualified professionals are self-employed contractors. The majority of starter-jobs, however, are offered as direct employment (PAYE) and these include apprentices, graduates and general labourers. Progression in the industry, from apprentice to project manager and director, usually takes most people between 15-20 years and the difference in salary is immense. As an apprentice, you may only pick up £6.50 per hour initially, but if you work hard, show initiative, keep training and collecting industry qualifications, you can eventually be earning £80k to £100k and probably even more.
Steve gave his best advice to the students. He said: “Building and construction is a very demanding occupation and one that doesn’t carry any passengers. You will need to be equipped with all the necessary site requirements such as health and safety, housekeeping, a good punctuality and attendance record and you absolutely have to be reliable and trustworthy. Employers look for initiative and competence and require you to think on your feet. They also expect impeccable behaviour and for you to act as ambassadors for their company. If you work and behave like professionals, you are treated and paid as professionals. It is a very lucrative and highly satisfying career to have.”
Callum is a 17-year-old, level 1 bricklaying student and attended the lecture. He said: “Listening to Steve really inspired me and made me realise I’d chosen a good trade to learn. I got a lot out of his presentation and it made me aware of everything I need to do to progress and climb the ladder. I feel very positive right now.”
Abereham, 17, is currently studying plumbing and would like to run his own business one day. He said: “I’ve discovered a lot more about working on site and the very high standards every site operative must have. So far, at the College I’ve learnt lots of practical skills but Steve has given me a bit more understanding about the types of environments I’ll be working in when I qualify. It has been very useful – thank you Steve.”
In June, Anderson will be inviting students to visit their building site at Erith Hills. They will get to see and experience a real, active construction operation and talk to a range of professionals from various trades. They will also meet supervisors and site managers as well as taking part in some practical demonstrations.
If you think you have what it takes to become a construction or building trade professional and would like to build a successful career in the construction and built environment industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses to get you started. Come along to one of our open events during June and July. Click here to learn more.