Where are they now?
Jak joined Y Prentis in October 2014 as a bricklaying apprentice. He spent a year with the scheme and achieved his diploma and NVQ Level 2 in bricklaying at Cardiff and the Vale College.
Jak was completing a work experience placement with Jehu when he was introduced to Y Prentis. He was looking to pursue a bricklaying apprenticeship as he preferred to learn by being hands-on on rather than studying full time.
Jak said: “Before joining the scheme, I had a chat with the Lee from Y Prentis. He explained how the apprenticeship would work and the support I would receive from the team. It was clear that Y Prentis was a good apprenticeship scheme that invested into its apprentices and helped them to achieve.
“Having the support was really important to me. Every six weeks I would see someone for a chat, whether that was on site or at college. Lee was always helpful and would always just drop me a text or give me a call to check everything was OK.”
Jak was placed with host employer Jehu. He worked on a number of different sites with them, including several housing developments and refurbishment projects.
“Moving around sites gave me a lot of different experiences. You get to learn how to work with different types of brick and learn the various ways of doing things. You also get to meet lots of people too. I’ve worked with so many bricklayers over the last five years and I’ve been able to learn something from each of them.”
While working with Jehu, Jak had the opportunity to network with different subcontractors. He went on to work for WDL, a groundworks company in Aberdare, before securing employment with R T Brickwork.
“Six months ago, I joined R T Brickwork. I met Lee Wager from R T Brickwork during my apprenticeship and have known him for five years now. I couldn’t think of anyone better to work with!”
Jak always wanted to become a bricklayer after seeing how his uncle built a successful bricklaying career. Jak said: “I always wanted to follow in my uncle’s footsteps. When he was 25, he told people that he was going to build a successful bricklaying career and be mortgage free by the time he was 40 - and he did just that. I look up to him and what he’s done, and I want to be able to do the same. Maybe even set up my own company one day.”
We asked Jak what advice he’d give to somebody thinking about doing an apprenticeship. He said: “Try the trade that you want to do and if it’s not for you, try something else. I did a BTEC in Construction Skills in secondary school and a Level 1 bricklaying college course before my apprenticeship and it helped me ensure that it was what I wanted to do.”
Lee Thomas, Y Prentis’s CITB Advisor, said: “Jak was always keen to learn. Whenever I gave him a call or caught up with him in person, he would be polite, helpful and always accommodating. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to do in the future and how to get there, and he’s on the path to do just that. For me, he was a model student who has an exciting future ahead of him.”