Apprentice intake carves a slice into the skills gap

A construction firm that works across Shropshire and Wales has unveiled its latest apprentice intake as it aims to encourage more people of all ages to consider a future in the industry.

New Pave Aways' apprentices: Max Williams, Lloyd Hart, Charlie Lowe, Zoe Booth, Oliver Roberts, Pave Aways’ first apprentice site manager
New Pave Aways' apprentices: Max Williams, Lloyd Hart, Charlie Lowe, Zoe Booth, Oliver Roberts, Pave Aways’ first apprentice site manager

Pave Aways’ most recent recruits include two employees in their 30s, who have taken up carpentry apprenticeships as a change in career.

Lloyd Hart from Wrexham, who had been working in engineering, and Zoe Booth, from Ellesmere, who studied for a level one site carpentry qualification at Coleg Cambria, have joined 16-year-old Charlie Lowe from Welshpool and Max Williams, 18, from Llanfyllin, who previously studied carpentry at Newtown College, on the team.

They will be working on Pave Aways’ sites alongside their mentors as well as attending Shrewsbury College to undertake a level two site carpentry course.

The construction company has also appointed its first ever apprentice site manager, Oliver Roberts, 18, from Llanfair Caereinion, who has recently completed his A-levels at Ysgol Uwchradd Caereinion.

He will combine study for formal qualifications at the Shrewsbury Colleges Group with work, initially at the orthopaedic centre it is building for armed forces veterans at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Gobowen, under the guidance of experienced site manager and mentor Andrew Owen.

Training manager Michelle Benjamin said: “Apprenticeships have long been thought of as an option only for school and college leavers but they are a great way to earn while you learn.

“The apprentices will be supported by our experienced team and get a chance to learn practical skills on our live building sites alongside study at college. There’s a recognised skills gap nationally in construction and being able to draw older people into the sector would be one way to bridge that gap.”

She added: “An apprenticeship can offer the potential for a long-term career for the right person. One of our former apprentice carpenters, Paul Brooke, has been with us for 25 years and mentored many trainees during his career. And one of our contracts managers, Aaron Evans, started with us as an apprentice carpenter before working his way up to his current position.”

Pave Aways’ takes on an annual cohort of apprentices including site and office based staff with a long term future in the business for the committed candidates.

It won the Shropshire Business award for its commitment to training and education in 2020 and is a member of The 5% Club, a national movement committed to investing in new talent with fifteen per cent of its workforce currently being apprentices or trainees.

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