Why did you choose a future in groundworks?
I first went into demolition. It was something I was interested in when I was little, but I changed my mind when I realised it didn’t involve blowing up a lot of things. Then I did a railway engineering course in college, but I was finding it difficult to find an apprenticeship. An opportunity for a groundworks apprenticeship came up with Y Prentis and I thought it would give me the opportunity for good career progression.
Why did you choose to study with an apprenticeship?
I like being hands on and not stuck in a classroom all day. Having an apprenticeship definitely makes me more motivated to get up and come to site every day. I also didn’t want to get into work life without having a qualification behind me.
What qualification are you currently studying towards?
I’m studying for my NVQ Level 2 in Groundworks at ARC Academy. I have my college day on a Wednesday, so it breaks up the week nicely. Plus it’s a later start than my usual site days, so I even get a mid-week lie in!
Where are you spending your apprenticeship?
I’m currently working with Darlow Lloyd at Interserve’s Prince Charles Hospital site in Merthyr Tydfil. It’s a nice site – they’re really hot on things like health and safety. As it’s such a big site, I get to move around to different areas and work on different aspects of the build.
Why do you think groundworkers are important to the construction industry?
We build the foundations, so without them no building work would ever get started! It isn’t exactly what I thought it would be like when I first heard about groundworks and I didn’t imagine quite so much digging, but it’s really rewarding to see a finished project. I think loads of people will want to get into a career in groundworks in the future because it’s such a hands-on, physical job.
What has been your favourite part of your apprenticeship?
I enjoy the days where I get to be banks man for the machines. I walk in front of the heavy machinery and give directions. I’m learning a lot on site. I’ve learnt ground working techniques, like how to lay curbs and path edgings, and key skills for my job from master tradesmen who have been doing the job for at least 20 years. Seeing how well they’re doing makes me excited to start my career. Every day, I use communication and social skills as good team work is really important. I enjoy meeting new people and get on well with everyone on site – we have already planned our Christmas party!
What are you most looking forward to in your future career?
I’d like to go into groundworks on road projects. It seems like a really interesting and consistent job. I’d also like to get my machine tickets, such as the dumper and roller trucks – it will make my job easier and you can earn a lot more money. If I could give my younger self any advice, it would be to not move around and change my mind so much – I wish I had gone straight into groundworks!