Persimmon’s William Smith named Apprentice Instructor of the Year
William Smith, the regional apprenticeship manager for Persimmon Homes, has won the coveted Instructor of the Year prize at the annual Scottish Apprenticeship Awards run by Skills Development Scotland.
William has been instrumental in ensuring that apprenticeships are now at the heart of Persimmon’s business and has overseen a significant improvement in the number and diversity of the home builder’s apprentices in Scotland. The current crop of apprentices are undertaking a mixture of bricklaying, joinery and roofing modern apprenticeship frameworks, with three new female apprentices among the 35 that William supports and mentors across the country.
During his career, William has supported over 3,500 apprentices throughout an impressive 35 year career in the construction sector. Before joining Persimmon in 2021, he spent 33 years at CITB, firstly as an Apprenticeships Officer, then subsequently as an Area Delivery Manager, where he managed a team of 12 apprenticeship officers, responsible for over 900 apprentices each year.
William Smith said: “When you see the difference that can be made to an individual’s life through an apprenticeship, all the hard work that goes into supporting their development is worth it.
“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made at Persimmon in recent years and I’m thrilled to have won the Apprentice Instructor of the Year Award. It’s a great recognition of the hard work that’s been carried out to ensure we’re creating opportunities for people in the areas where we build and develop a pipeline of talent for the future.”
A fresh focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of apprentices at Persimmon has helped reduce sickness absence by 80% – with regular one-to-one meetings on site and at college. William also introduced a confidential traffic light system to assess where extra support may be needed, as well as mental health training for all apprentices.
Alan Prickett, regional construction director, said: “William has been central to ensuring apprenticeships are now at the heart of Persimmon’s activity in Scotland.
“Not only does he provide outstanding support and guidance for our apprentices, he has ensured our apprenticeship programme is a priority for senior management across the business and is driving the business to further increase the number, and improve the diversity, of our apprentices.”
Minister for youth employment and training Jamie Hepburn said: “The Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are a great opportunity to recognise the vital work of apprentices as well as the valuable support of employers and learning providers who enable apprentices to succeed.
“Well done to all of the winners, who have achieved so much.”