What attracted you to a career in groundworks?
I like doing hands on jobs, mucking in with the lads, being outdoors and putting in the hard graft. I’ve never wanted an office job, and with groundworks I get to be outside every day. I get a lot of freedom as I’m not just sat in one place all the time. It feels good working in groundworks as it’s being noticed more as a trade these days. I feel like the boys and myself who are on this apprenticeship course are at a starting point where groundworks is being recognised as a real trade, not just labouring – I think it will become really popular.
I always wanted to be a builder, but I didn’t think I would be able to because of my past, so it’s nice to be able to follow in my family’s footsteps and make them proud. I’m glad that now I’m doing something that my little brother can look up too.
Why did you choose to take on an apprenticeship?
I was previously on an apprenticeship, so I knew it opens up more pathways, looks good on your CV and that I can solider through on a smaller wage until I qualify. People are a lot easier on you too – they’re more lenient and understand that you’re still learning. I have found that people who have had trouble in the past are accepted a lot more within the construction industry. I think it can allow people to get themselves out of bad personal situations and give them an opportunity for a different life – this apprenticeship has done that for me.
What qualifications are you studying towards?
I’m studying at ARC Academy in Treforest towards my Level 2 NVQ and Diploma in Construction Operations and Civil Engineering Services, as well as a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Construction Operations.
How has your apprenticeship made a difference to your life?
Being on my apprenticeship has changed my personality in a positive way. Working on site was a bit hard at the start, learning that I couldn’t go out if I had work to attend the next day. However, it’s meant that my routine today is a lot better. I have a good sleeping pattern now and get everything sorted for work the next day in time. It’s helped with my people and communication skills, such as how to approach people, to talk to them and to remain professional. I’ve learnt how to control my money and it has helped with my personal life, because it has kept me out of trouble.
What has been your favourite part of your apprenticeship?
Meeting new people, learning about them and their lifestyles, and how they have got into their jobs. I’m learning loads of life skills from being around people I wouldn’t have met before. I have had a laugh on site and have built friendships. I also really enjoy moving from site to site as I get to meet lots of new people and it doesn’t get boring. Since working with Darlow Lloyd, I’ve been on different types of sites around Cardiff, such as the Alexandra Docks, The Royal Infirmary and Llandough Hospital.
What are you looking forward to in your career as a groundworker?
Working full time and earning a bit of money. I’m also looking forward to being able to provide for my family and help out with the bills. During my apprenticeship, I’ve had the chance to use some machinery with trained people on site. I didn’t expect to be able to do that and it was good fun, so I’d like to do more of this in the future.
Do you have any advice you would give your younger self?
If I could go back and tell my younger self anything it would be to take a different path and not take risks, because opportunities are out there if you look for them!