To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Regional Director, Helen Osgood, spent the day learning the trade the practical way by being an apprentice for the day with FMB member building company Princebuild Ltd in Peterborough.
Helen shadowed Jake Ball, a plumbing apprentice, who is currently involved in a project at Stirling House, a Training Centre for Her Majesty’s Prison Service in Haverhill, Cambridgeshire. Jake is part of a project team refurbishing the centre’s communal welfare and shower block. Fortunately for Helen the project is in the latter stages and now requires the installation of showers, sanitary-ware and not their removal!
After introductions Helen got stuck in by helping to get the replacement showers, sanitary-ware, sink-units and associated accessories onto site. After watching Jake she plumbed in a mono bloc tap, activated and de-activated the services, installed shower heads and enjoyed her day.
Helen’s visit took place as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2012 which is organised by the National Apprenticeship Service during the 6th – 10th February to celebrate the country’s apprentices and the benefits they bring to business.
Helen Osgood, FMB Regional Director for Eastern Counties, said:
“I’ve worked in construction, supporting SMEs for years, but today I have had a taste of what it’s like to learn a trade and start out in our industry.
Helen Osgood and the PrinceBuild team
Helen Osgood and Jake Ball
I’ve also seen firsthand the benefit apprentices have for small construction businesses. However in the current climate it’s hard for anyone to know what the future holds and to anticipate workloads which makes taking on an apprentice very difficult. The Government’s proposal of a £1,500 incentive payment for small employers is welcome but it won’t be enough to persuade many new businesses to hire an apprentice. Instead the Government should extend the eligibility criteria and allow small businesses with a history of employing apprentices to benefit as well.”
Dave Twiddy, Site Manager at Princebuild, said:
“Having Helen on site today was great. It’s wonderful to be able to show off what a great job our apprentices do. At Princebuild, it’s essential we have people with the right skills, which is why we make the effort to train apprentices. However given the difficult economic climate it’s hard to be confident enough to take on new trainees. An incentive payment for hiring an apprentice or an exemption from Employer National Insurance Contributions for all apprentices employed by small businesses would be a massive help to companies like us.”