Housebuilder and contractor collaborate to boost modern apprenticeships in construction

(from left) Back Row: Euan Rose (apprentice bricklayer), Jamie Grinyer (apprentice electrician), Michael Rough (graduate apprentice construction & built environment), Neil Thomson (construction director, Stewart Milne Homes), Bill Ross (construction manager, Stewart Milne Homes), Stewart Milne, Ian Gray (WM Donald operations manager), Terri Tully (resource manager, Stewart Milne Group) and Stephenie Barron (apprentice joiner).
Front Row: Jack Whitton (apprentice bricklayer), Andrew Marnoch (apprentice painter), Jordan Wray (apprentice joiner), Jamie Hallam (WMD trainee groundworker), Robert Manzie (WMD trainee groundworker) and Tyler Godfrey (WMD trainee groundworker).

Stewart Milne Group and W M Donald are working in partnership to encourage more apprentices into construction and to give them relevant, on-site experience.

Stewart Milne Group has recruited six new apprentices into its homes division in the North-east of Scotland. This takes the total number of modern apprenticeships currently with the award-winning house builder and timber systems manufacturer to 36.

Meanwhile, civil contractor W M Donald has taken on a further three apprentices who will be given the opportunity to gain practical experience on Stewart Milne Homes’ building sites across the North-east.

Karen Catto, HR director at Stewart Milne Group, said: “Latest statistics reveal that one in ten jobs in Britain is in construction and we simply don’t have enough skilled people. This growing gap, exacerbated by the ageing workforce, is holding back growth and pushing up costs. Demand for sub-contractors is soaring and the industry needs to work more collaboratively to attract young people and then help them develop the necessary skills to pursue a rewarding career in construction.

“Apprenticeships arm people with the right skills and experience to get the job done, excel and develop. We’re proud that many who complete their training with us choose to remain and progress their career within Stewart Milne Group. Indeed, we’ve got several examples of apprentices who are now at senior levels in the company, not least of whom is our chairman and founder!”

The latest intake of apprentices will undergo a four-year programme to gain the skills and experience required in the construction sector which includes training on the job as well as at college.

Eilidh Cameron, HR manager at W M Donald, said: “We’re committed to recruiting apprentices but the challenge for us as a sub-contractor is to get our apprentices out onto real-live construction sites to gain practical experience which is key to their learning and development. By working in partnership with Stewart Milne Homes, we are able to offer our apprentices on-site training in a safe and supportive environment.”

Apprenticeships in the construction sector are some of the most popular and competitive in the UK. Those who have secured a modern apprenticeship with Stewart Milne Group are aged between 18 and 26.

Ms Catto added: “Apprenticeships were traditionally viewed as a path into employment for those leaving school, but the diverse age range and background of Stewart Milne Group’s apprentices demonstrate that modern apprenticeships are an attractive proposition for anyone considering a career in construction.”

Stewart Milne Group’s 36 apprentices currently include civil engineers, quantity surveyors and architectural technicians as well as joiners, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers and painters.

Opportunities to join the 2019 intake of apprentices at Stewart Milne Group will open later this year.

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