Coatbridge construction worker shares the benefits of his apprenticeship

A Coatbridge carpenter stresses the value of apprenticeships while learning his trade while helping build vital new homes.

Zach Brown is in his final year of a carpentry apprenticeship at Barratt Homes, working in the company’s Dargavel Village development in Renfrewshire where he has contributed to 30 new builds, spending a week completing his specialist tasks in each home .

Now mentoring a younger colleague, he hopes more recruits will be encouraged into the construction industry – as his employer marks the current Scottish Apprenticeship Week by launching a campaign to recruit 23 new starters across the country.

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Zach became an apprentice carpenter straight out of school four years ago and has learned a wide range of skills in his first three years in the job.

The 20-year-old now specializes in roughing, which includes both Placoplâtre and partitioning; and also completed a one-year construction management course, which he hopes to take in the future.

He said: “I’ve worked on many different types of homes and each requires a different approach, so it’s great to help find the best tools and techniques every time.

“There are a lot of skills, it’s a job for life and working alongside other trades means you also learn other practical skills, such as plumbing, masonry and electrical maintenance.

“I really like being able to go out and do things locally, and there’s a lot of flexibility in the job; and the most rewarding part is that I’m doing something that’s real and will stand the test of time.

Nine of Barratt’s new apprentices from August will be based in developments in the west of Scotland, learning trades such as masonry, carpentry, carpentry, electrical maintenance and plumbing from people in experienced trades and attending university weekly to acquire formal qualifications.

Managing Director David Scott said: “The construction industry is thriving and we are committed to helping young people progress in the business.

“We are absolutely committed to investing in raw talent, and there has never been a more important time to provide these kinds of learning opportunities.

“Many of the apprentices we have taken on over the years are now in management positions responsible for managing and delivering multi-million pound housing developments.

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Alice F. Ponder