A team from top UK housebuilding, regeneration and construction firm Galliford Try paid a visit to London South East Colleges’ Holly Hill Construction Skills Campus this week. They arrived to give students from a range of trades an insight into the industry and offer a unique opportunity to join them for a valuable work experience programme at one of their current building sites.

Heather Bryant - Community Liaison Manager, Neil Willis - Project Manager, and three other members of staff - Courtney, Marcus, and Libby, who are advancing their careers through the ranks of the company, gave a presentation about careers and training programmes currently available within the company.

Galliford Try has a huge warehouse development underway in nearby Belvedere. It is a 52-week building project that will see the construction of a large steel frame structure and will require a number of different trade skills from electrical and mechanical engineers, bricklayers, plumbers, and carpenters.

Heather told the students: “We are here today to offer you the opportunity to be a part of this development and gain work experience and new site skills that will be relevant to your own career development.

“Think of your career as a journey,” she said, “on that journey, there are a number of different routes you can take to get you to the top of your profession. Never rule anything out and always be prepared to change your mind about your short-term and long-term goals. The industry is forever changing and modernising with new technological breakthroughs, differing working methods, and economic influences.

“A successful work experience could lead you into one of the routes we can offer you. One way is the apprenticeship route where you earn as you learn. This is a great way of gaining lots of on-the-job skills and knowledge; it is perfect if you want to be hands-on and spend less time in class.

“Another popular path is via university. As a graduate trainee, you would study a degree, part-time at a London university, and have your fees paid by Galliford Try. This would ensure you came through without incurring huge student debts on graduation.

“If neither of these are for you, we offer other traineeships in different areas where you can attend college to gain level 1, 2 or 3 and other bespoke qualifications.”

Heather then introduced her team members to talk about their own personal journeys and the giant strides they have taken since joining the company in various junior roles.

Courtney left school and began working in a hairdressing salon. Though she enjoyed the experience, she discovered that it really wasn’t for her. A friend suggested a career as a surveyor and she made inquiries. Soon, she was starting an apprenticeship working in contracting at Galliford Try and is now studying for a degree in surveying. She intends to become a project surveyor when she graduates.

Marcus works on-site with Neil as Assistant Site Manager. He studied for a BTEC Level 3 Diploma, and then an HNC in Construction and the Built Environment. He now plans to go to study the subject further at a university.

Libby is new to the company and has recently started as Technical Apprentice. She arrived with no previous experience but demonstrated a very eager and positive attitude at her interview. Her willingness to learn and her enthusiasm for the role impressed the panel and she is now well underway studying for a Level 3 qualification in Construction.

Neil gave the students some insight into the types of work they could expect to be involved with on-site. He said: “If you were to be successful in your interview and gain a work experience placement with us, you could be partaking in £3 million worth of electrical installations or learning very high-tech assembly skills. You will be assigned your own professional mentor who would be responsible for providing you with the best possible training.”

Level 2 Electrical Installation students, Tara and Anthony both attended the presentation and were quick to express their interests to the team.

Tara said: “This would be the perfect opportunity for me to add something really impressive to my CV. So far, I have undergone lots of theory and skills training at the College and the chance to actually apply some of what I’ve learned to a real building project would certainly enhance my chances of impressing potential employers in the future.”

Anthony, a 60-year-old student, and former mental health care nurse said: “Although I’m much older than many of the other applicants, I still have ambitions to keep working and develop a new career. Any opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge and add to my repertoire of expertise is a good thing and I shall certainly give this my best. I’ve always worked hard, given my utmost and I love learning. That’s what keeps me going.”

If you think you have what it takes to become a construction trade professional and would like to build a successful career in the building services and built environment industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses and apprenticeship opportunities to get you started. Come along to one of our open events. Click here to learn more.

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