Since starting his apprenticeship, Andrew has been able to learn a range of skills, and even travel internationally with construction! He got the chance to go to India and carry out some construction work for a charity, making a real difference to a community’s life.
If it’s something you’re thinking about or like the idea of – then go for it!
Tell us a bit more about your role and what you like about working in construction.
I’m an Apprentice Joiner with the SCS Group. At the moment I work on first and second partition work and also finishing work. I’ll work mostly on big sites like new schools or hospitals.
I like being able to work with more than one tradesmen and seeing how differently people’s work is. Construction and building things are enjoyable for me, and it’s great to see the end product.
Construction and building things are enjoyable for me, and it’s great to see the end product.
How did you get into construction?
After secondary school I went straight into working with a smaller scale building firm as a labourer. That’s where I got a taste for construction and so made the move to SCS and started my apprenticeship with them.
What's a typical day like for you?
I start work normally at eight in the morning and then finish at half past four in the afternoon. Depending on what the job requires I’ll work on partition work or joinery work. This could involve work like fitting door kits or doing window sills.
What skills do you think you need for this role?
You would need to have some basic carpentry and joinery skills – things like measuring accurately, cutting precisely, marking out and other skills like that. Problem solving skills are also quite useful as there may be times where you’ll need them.
Tell us about something that you're proud of in your career so far
Construction can take you places and it just so happened to take me to India. For 3 weeks in January 2017, as part of a four man team of other experienced joiners I travelled out to Southern India to undertake some charity work in a girl’s orphanage in Kollegal, a small village situated 3 hours away from Bangalore airport. The opportunity to work out there came about through ‘Brass Tacks’, a Christian run organisation I had contact with via the church I attend.
Brass Tacks undertake a large variety of work worldwide helping those in need using many different volunteers; I was part of the project India team. Our team were working at a Christian girls’ home and whilst out there we had various tasks we needed to complete. Our end goal was to build a new dorm room to house ten girls, which would be on top of an existing dorm. Firstly we completed blockwork to window sill height ensuing that the walls were level, and then infill the existing roof with concrete to create a level surface, as this would then become the dormitory floor.
Next we had to do some shuttering in order to build a staircase that would lead up to the girl’s dormitory. We found that the plywood was expensive and not the best quality however we made sure to construct the stairs to meet health and safety regulations. After this was the installation of windows in the girls’ bathroom and shower area. We used a local man in the village for the windows, so they were made quickly and to a good standard, and so then installation would be hassle free. After more shuttering the lintels could be cast for the doorways and windows allowing us to complete blockwork to full height, which meant that our part of the project was complete and time for sub-contractors to measure for pre-fabrication and roofing.
Overall my Indian experience was one to be remembered - working in 30 degree heat with misshapen blocks, empty oil drums for scaffolding and sharing a bedroom with bats, geckos and cockroaches. But it has to be said that I loved every minute of it, gaining invaluable experience and I hope to return next year!
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hopefully I’ll be a time served joiner! I would like to be a hard working construction worker with a range of skills that I’ve learnt through my apprenticeship.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in construction?
If it’s something you’re thinking about or like the idea of – then go for it! It’s not the most glamourous of jobs, but it is very fulfilling and there is great potential to go places in the construction field.