Leading by example – my apprenticeship experience
After moving to the UK from Poland, Dorota wanted to pursue a career that would give her a long-lasting and clear career path.
Her experiences of working in construction have given her a passion for the industry and for future generations of construction professionals.
Enjoying the process
In my role as a Formwork apprentice I get to construct, erect, install, finish and repair wooden structures and fixtures on residential and commercial buildings. This is so it provides the best possible finish of the concrete depending on the project’s specifications.
I like everything about my apprenticeship – there’s loads of experience that I’m getting to enjoy, I’m learning more about what I'm doing and will do in my career, and I’m getting to explore more about work on the building site as a Carpenter.
It's also giving me chance to see how other people work, what their responsibilities are, and how a team works together to get the job done.
I wish I could give you a typical day but that's one of the things about construction I love - no day is ever the same. We’ll start work at 8.00am with a site briefing where my supervisor consults and agrees with the whole team what work needs to be completed by the end of that day or week.
I completed my compulsory education in Poland and moved to UK not long after that. Before joining the construction industry, I was working as a magazine distributer, which I enjoyed and soon I was promoted to oversee the stock. But I felt that it didn’t provide me with a clear career path so I decided to start studying at a local college and undertake some work experience with Byrne Bros which led me to enrol onto their Formwork apprenticeship.
Prior to joining the Byrne Bros apprenticeship scheme, I successfully completed a City and Guilds Level 1 Diploma in Construction skills which inspired me to continue my career in Construction and I haven’t looked back since!
Reaping the rewards
My greatest accomplishments so far have been: Winning the 2017 London Master Builder Awards – Apprentices category and being a winner of the Skillbuild Regional Heat Competition 2015 in Wall and Floor Tiling.
The skills you need for this kind of role are numeracy, being a team worker, good communication skills, being organised, a team leader and some flexibility.
If you think construction might be for you, my only advice would be that you need to be fine with the fact that you might be working in the elements such as cold, rain or snow. It’s a great career to have, so definitely go for it and give it a try.
Never give up on yourself and your dreams, because I believe that by hard work, you are able to achieve everything what you want and more. The construction industry can provide you with a great career path and you will meet so many great people that are very supportive and able to help you achieve your goals.
Being a mum
Being a working mother can be difficult, but I have a good support network at Byrne Bros, which is very important to me. My supervisor and co-workers are extremely supportive and always take time to provide me with a chance to explore more, be more confident and able to make the right decisions. I believe that by working hard you are setting standards and leading by example for young people, showing and teaching them that the impossible can be possible when you put your mind to it.
Construction provides a great opportunity to develop yourself, your career and the industry is diverse which is important for me being a foreign national. Furthermore, as a parent I will do everything to support my child to achieve her goals.
I want to be able to guide her correctly as I have the understanding of the different routes she can take to achieve her end goal. There are a number of different routes your child can take to build their career in construction. It all depends on their experience and education background and what the individual enjoys doing.
I’ve set my goals high, wanting to build up my experience and to see the construction process from beginning to end. I believe by completing this Formwork apprenticeship with Byrne bros, it has taught me more about the construction process that many undergraduates or graduates know after completing University or other relevant courses, where they only teach theory.
So I’d highly recommend an apprenticeship route, as it has given me hands on experience and understanding of the whole construction process. So my advice is if your child is passionate about construction, don't miss the opportunity to seek advice and explore the different pathways to a successful career in construction.