Regeneration specialist Lovell reveals how an apprenticeship can become a life-changing opportunity
In autumn 2014, John Postlethwaite, an unemployed 28-year-old from Cumbria, became the 1,000th apprentice recruited by Lovell since the company launched its national apprentice training programme in 2003.
With Lovell’s support, trainee carpenter/joiner John, who lives in Wigton, near Carlisle, is working towards the nationally-recognised Level 2 NVQ Diploma qualification in joinery and carpentry, learning his trade on site with Lovell in Carlisle and studying at Carlisle College on day release.
My apprenticeship will get me the life I want
“At my age, I thought I was on my last chance so when I found out that Lovell was advertising for apprentices I knew I had to go for it,” says John, who joined Lovell as a mature trainee. “The apprenticeship will get me the life I want and means I can stand on my own two feet and support myself. It gives me the chance to learn on the job and get a wage as well. I have a two-year-old daughter and this means I’ll be able to help her have a better life.”
His apprenticeship has put the professional construction career which John aimed for as a teenager within his grasp. “When I was younger I was always making things out of wood and I went on to do a full-time joinery course at college,” he says. “After that, I applied for lots of construction jobs but they either wanted a young apprentice or someone with experience.” John, who has worked in Poundland and as a parking attendant and security officer, spent two years striving to get back into the workplace before securing his apprenticeship.
In his efforts to find a job, he took a construction course organised by housing provider Riverside where Lovell helped by staging practice interviews for the trainees and organising visits to the major housing regeneration development at the Raffles estate, Carlisle, where Lovell is working in partnership with Riverside, Carlisle City Council and the local community on a large-scale housing programme bringing new life to the area. John is now part of the Lovell team which has built more than 260 homes at Raffles over the past decade. The company is currently building 58 affordable homes for Riverside at Thomlinson Avenue and Dalton Avenue through the ongoing regeneration.
Not just for 16-year-olds
“John is a great example of the way that an apprenticeship can change someone’s life,” says Lovell people development manager Bruce Boughton. “He also shows that apprenticeships aren’t just for 16-year-olds. At Lovell, we don’t just look at someone’s age but also consider whether they have the attitude and willingness to learn that we’re looking for. We’re delighted that he’s joined our team in Carlisle.
“Providing opportunities for local people to gain qualifications and jobs is fundamental to the work we do in communities. Equally, we see bringing new people into the industry and equipping them with the skills to build careers as essential for our continuing success, which is why we’ve always invested significantly in apprentice training, even when the recession hit. As the Carlisle project demonstrates, it’s one of the ways by which we ensure that the benefits of housing developments and regeneration programmes we deliver extend to the wider community and have a lasting, positive impact for local people. At the same time, both our business and the industry as a whole gain from the skills and expertise of the workers we train.”
Lovell currently has 52 apprentices nationally and expects to take on 40 more in 2015.