AN APPRENTICESHIP scheme has had a transformational impact on seven young adults based across the East of Scotland.
Thanks to an introduction through The Prince’s Trust’s “Get into Construction” programme, the apprentices are now being given the chance to build a career with upmarket developer, CALA Homes (East).
Having impressed on the initial four week work experience, each apprentice has been rewarded with a four year modern apprenticeship – and are thriving having each started their second year.
All seven will also work towards a qualification essential for working on building sites, as well as gaining invaluable practical experience, references from established tradespeople and the potential to define their career goals.
Callum Cunningham, 21, from Prestonpans is an Apprentice Bricklayer at CALA Homes’ Castle Bay Development in Dunbar who now has his sights set on starting up his own company once he’s completed his placement.
He said: “Before starting my apprenticeship I was lacking motivation, sleeping in and never wanting to get up for work- now I’ve really found my calling. My team give me a lot of responsibility and really take pride in teaching me things.
“I love it because the work is so hands on. Before my apprenticeship I had been working in offices doing paperwork where I couldn’t physically see what I was contributing – whereas each day with CALA I can see somebody’s future home coming together.
“One day I’d like to have my own company, and I know I need to keep my head down. Thanks to this opportunity I now have the ambition to achieve my goals.”
With seven apprentices currently working at CALA East sites across Straiton, Currie, Ratho and Dunbar, this opportunity has proved a valuable experience to both the individuals as well as CALA Homes.
Stephen Brown, 24, from Falkirk, is an Apprentice Joiner working at CALA’s Craigpark development in Ratho – who as well as looking to become self-employed in the future, hopes to purchase a home of his own for his young family.
He said: “Prior to starting my apprenticeship, I was working in a couple of call centres and warehouses. I’d always wanted an apprenticeship as I’m a practical person but found them extremely difficult to get.
“I’m so glad I was taken on by CALA as I’m really enjoying the work. The tradesmen I have been working with are brilliant and incredibly supportive, the small tips they give make the biggest difference.
“Looking to the future, I’d love to save for a house now that my partner and I have just had a baby girl. I want to complete my apprenticeship and possibly become self-employed.”
Stephanie Bagworth, Senior Head of Corporate Partnerships with The Prince’s Trust, said: “Since 2016 CALA has been helping young people through The Trust’s Get Into Construction programme.
“This is a four week work experience programme that develops young people’s skills in the construction sector and then supported into jobs within the industry.
“We are delighted that seven of the young people from our first Scotland programme are still in employment as apprentices and doing well more than a year on!”
With new sites launching in Balerno, Haddington and Gullane, CALA is looking at potentially taking on more apprentices in the coming year, to offer more young adults a chance to take the first step on the career ladder.
Craig Leishman, Contract Manager at CALA Homes (East) said: “Getting involved in the Prince’s Trust apprenticeship scheme has been a very rewarding experience for all involved.
“We’ve had great success and recruited passionate and hardworking young men. In return we have been flooded with positive messages on how this opportunity has given them a career that they are passionate about, but most importantly ambitions for the future.
“With the huge number of homes needing to be built in the coming years to address the shortfall, it is imperative that Scotland has the skilled workforce required for the task – these apprenticeships are a big part of the solution”.