Housebuilder hails success of its apprenticeship scheme

A housebuilder says its apprenticeship scheme is paying off as it looks to address a shortfall of skilled workers in the industry.

SHREWS COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 13/10/2021 - Shingler Group based in Shrewsbury celebrates the success of its Apprenticeship scheme..
SHREWS COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 13/10/2021 - Shingler Group based in Shrewsbury celebrates the success of its Apprenticeship scheme..

Shingler Group, based in Myddle, launched the scheme four years ago and says interest has grown as more young people have recognised how useful apprenticeships are in getting on the career ladder.

The business works with Shrewsbury Colleges Group and runs a four-year apprenticeship scheme with all apprentices that successfully complete their course guaranteed a full-time job in the business. Currently, it has 14 apprentices aged between 16 to 20 years at different stages of their apprenticeships.

Jeremy Shingler, managing director of Shingler Group, said: "Our industry is facing a desperate skills shortage and there is no better way to address the number of youngsters coming in than by offering apprenticeships.

"The first 12 months was tough as there didn't seem to be any interest in apprenticeships. Lots of youngsters were going to full-time education like college and university.

"We attended a careers fair at a local school four years ago. We had a stand there but the whole hall was full of people offering further education opportunities. We spoke to nobody all night. But we attended the same fair two years ago and were inundated with people. It has been a learning experience for us."

Mr Shingler said they adapted the apprenticeship scheme to help the apprentices learn all aspects of the industry rather than just a specific trade.

"We took four people on initially. They did one day at college and the rest was on-job learning," he said.

"The following year we recruited a few more, but felt they were being rushed through in 18 months to two years and were only learning a specific trade and not the industry as a whole.

"Building a property is a sequence of events involving different trades and it won't work if you don't work together.

"What we did last year was launched a foundation year where applicants join in year one. They don't go to college that year but do on-job training, moving around all different trades like groundworks, carpentry etc and at the end of that year they choose which one to specialise in.

"In the fourth year we can check if they can actually put what they have learnt into practice like put up a roof up properly or build foundations unsupervised.

"It is a very grounded apprenticeship and means they end up with knowledge of the whole build process rather than just a specific trade.

"It is an exciting time for us. We have found the youngsters are really keen to do the apprenticeships and it is nice to see them with a smile on their face and come out the other end with qualifications and skill set."

Meanwhile, Mr Shingler said the business was "busier than ever" thanks to a "buoyant" house market.

"We have waiting lists of people on all our sites and various new sites are starting. Forward sales are stronger than they have ever been and we have sites lined up to 2024 and beyond.

"We are performing strongly thanks to the people we have got in the business, from the people on the ground to those in the office," he added.

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