Nineteen-year-old Ricky Spittal from Glenrothes has been given the foundation for a solid future having secured a four year apprenticeship as a bricklayer with Taylor Wimpey.
The teenager is now dividing his time between learning his chosen trade on the housebuilder’s sites in Edinburgh and Loanhead and attending Fife College’s St Brycedale Campus in Kirkcaldy.
Ricky is one of thirteen young people from across Fife who boosted their chances of finding a job by completing the Hand Picked Academy, sponsored by Taylor Wimpey East Scotland.
The 16-23 year-olds, a mix of school and college leavers and unemployed young adults trying to get back into work, took part in a range of workshops and site visits during the week long Academy in June, before being interviewed for one of Taylor Wimpey East Scotland’s apprenticeships.
Out of the thirteen, nine secured employment soon after attending the academy. Taylor Wimpey employed four of the young people in apprenticeship roles and the other five have secured apprenticeships with other building and engineering firms in Fife. Additionally, two candidates were successful in gaining places at Fife College on construction courses.
Designed by CR Smith boss, Gerard Eadie CBE, the Hand Picked Academy is part of an employer-based programme of initiatives to support young people into work. It is built to challenge perceptions of the workplace, while equipping candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them look for and secure employment for themselves.
“I was attending college and applying for apprenticeships when my Mum read about the Taylor Wimpey Hand Picked Academy online. I thought it would be a really good way to understand what employers are looking for and help me learn the skills to stand out from the crowd.
“The Academy took place at the Taylor Wimpey office in Dunfermline where we focused on communication skills and how to present yourself. We also learned how to tailor your CV to better target your chosen companies.”
The course began with sessions on “marketing and selling yourself” through application letters, CVs, online profiles and making the right first impression, followed by workshops on the art of conversation, confidence and interview techniques.
The candidates went on to meet with site managers, trainee engineers, management apprentices and office-based staff to learn about the jobs available at Taylor Wimpey, and enjoyed an informal session with the housebuilder’s Managing Director Ian Drummond.
“It was great for me and the others on the course to get the opportunity to visit a site for the first time We learned about safety procedures and what to do while working close to the public.”
It was while he was attending the Academy during the summer that Ricky heard there were apprenticeships available within the company for joinery and bricklaying.
“To begin with I was more interested in becoming a joiner but once I talked to people and learned more about it, I wanted to be a bricklayer. So it was great to be offered the apprenticeship and now I travel between home, college and sites in Edinburgh and Loanhead.
“I would recommend taking part in the Hand Picked Academy to anyone. It really helped me learn what an employer would expect of me and it has helped me secure the future that I was looking for.”
The Taylor Wimpey East Scotland Hand Picked Academy was specifically designed to help the housebuilder recruit new apprentices, while giving all candidates the opportunity to learn how to improve their job prospects.
Martyn Campbell, Production Director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland said:
“Our team has enjoyed getting to know this year’s participants of the Hand Picked Academy and we’re delighted that so many of them have progressed to secure employment.”
Pauline McGeevor for Hand Picked added:
“Hand Picked is unique as it is entirely employer-led. It has been designed to develop job-seeking skills, build confidence and provide real work experience for young people aged between 16 and 24 looking for employment. It is distinct from other employability schemes because it has been built totally from the employers’ perspective.”