'How apprenticeships helped us build our future'

Joseph Bulmer

Two young workers are praising the merits of the apprenticeship scheme after they were able to 'build for the future'.

The two two apprentices from Vistry South West, which includes Bovis Homes and Linden Homes, have told their stories to mark National Apprenticeship Week which runs until February 13.

Now in its 15th year, the week-long event aims to celebrate apprenticeships, which has seen a huge increase in employer support over the last decade and combines practical on-the-job training with formal qualifications.

The theme for 2022 is ‘build the future’; reflecting on how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and businesses to develop a talented workforce.

Vistry Managing director Paul Moran said: “It is so important to attract good new employees and also to help and inspire them to progress in their chosen career. We were pleased to offer two apprenticeships in September for candidates interested in a technical career in the industry. There was no preferred age, background or education – we were simply looking for enthusiastic individuals who were keen to develop within the business. We wanted to find and invest in the right people."

Lyle Seaton-Collins, 23, was one of the two successful candidates and joined the company as a planning apprentice. He had spent two years in retail in a graduate role after completing his business degree at the University of Plymouth but had enjoyed a brief period of time working with a planning consultant so jumped at the opportunity.

His course is expected to take two years and will involve studying at the University College of Estate Management. Once his apprenticeship is completed, he will be a qualified chartered surveyor with a post-graduate master’s degree.

Lyle lives in Dawlish with his dad and is a keen surfer and cyclist. He said: “I’m delighted to have discovered this opportunity. I think some of the jobs within housebuilding aren’t well-known so they’re not on many people’s radar.

“I feel fortunate as the company is funding my course, plus the scheme is flexible so it enables me to work, earn money and gain experience, while studying and obtaining qualifications.

“I spend four days working and one day studying, which is done online and can fit around meetings and appointments, so I couldn’t be happier. I feel like I have a clear career path ahead of me"

Jack Churchill, who lives in Bovey Tracey with his family, wasn’t sure what do after his A levels. He worked at the Co-op after sixth form before setting his sights on an apprenticeship in the construction industry.

Jack, 20, said: “I managed to undertake some work experience with a housebuilder and really enjoyed it but to get into the industry is difficult if you don’t have experience in a specific role. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the apprenticeship advertised and was delighted when I learnt I was successful.

“I joined the company in September as a technical apprentice and similarly to Lyle, I spend four days working and learning the role, with one day at Exeter College. I’m studying for my HNC in construction in the build environment, which is a two year course that’s funded by Vistry, so it’s a great balance – earning and learning is just what I needed.”

Jack, who loves walking his cocker spaniel, Winston and going to the gym in his spare time, added: “I’m really enjoying the course and everyone is very patient in explaining everything to me. Apprenticeships are a fantastic route into a great career and I’m looking forward to growing within the company.”

Paul Moran said: “Our chief executive started as an apprentice himself, as did our technical director, so it’s a position that’s heavily valued within the business."

Vistry currently employs 115 apprentices and holds a five-star rating award from the Home Builders Federation, following the annual announcement of the industry’s customer satisfaction survey results.