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Apprentice Otis sees his construction career take off as he becomes Cardiff company’s 100th employee

With National Apprenticeship Week (5 to 9 March) about to begin, Cardiff partnership homes developer Lovell is showcasing the training opportunities created by landmark city development The Mill.

Apprentice carpenter Otis Simpson, who lives a short distance from the development in Canton, is Lovell’s newest recruit to the construction team building the 800-home new urban village. He has also become Lovell’s 100th employee in the South Wales and South West region.

Lovell regional managing director Kate Rees says: “Otis is making the most of this opportunity to start his career with us. Together with the other apprentices and trainees at The Mill, he is a brilliant demonstration of the wider opportunities which The Mill is generating for local people. As our 100th employee in the region, his appointment is also a significant milestone for the business’s continuing expansion.”

Twenty-one-year-old Otis is forging his new career in construction after taking part in a Skills Academy and Prince’s Trust ‘Get into Construction’ course based at The Mill last year. The course was designed to give unemployed local young adults a taste of the industry and help them into construction jobs.

“I’ve really landed on my feet”

“I thought the course was a chance to get some experience for my cv and would probably lead to me labouring on site, I never thought it would result in an apprenticeship,” he says. “I feel like I’ve really landed on my feet. The apprenticeship is a good pathway to be on and will open up opportunities for me. I’ll be able to widen my experience of different trades and there’s also the option to move into management. What I like about the job is that you see your work at the end of the day; I’m the sort of person who can’t stand still, I like to be busy and feel I’m actually doing something. This is a really big site and the experience I’m getting will be valuable for the rest of my career. Working on the scheme means a lot to me – I’m from the Canton area and in the future I’ll be able to drive past and say I was part of it.”

Otis will benefit from the support of Lovell’s well-established training programme as he learns his trade, gaining practical experience alongside the experienced team on site at The Mill. In September, he will begin working towards his NVQ Level 2 Carpentry Diploma, attending college on day release.

Six young people are currently undertaking apprenticeships at The Mill, either with Lovell or the subcontractor firms helping build the new riverside community. Lovell will also recruit 15 apprentices across South Wales and the South West this year. To find out more about apprenticeships with Lovell visit https://www.lovell.co.uk/careers/  You can also go along to the Choose Your Future Apprenticeships event on Friday, 2 March at Cardiff City Stadium. Careers information will also be available at the Open Doors event taking place at The Mill development on Tuesday, 20 March, when members of the public are invited to go behind the scenes at the development – find out more at http://opendoors.construction/

One of the biggest urban regeneration programmes in Wales, The Mill, Canton, is bringing 800 contemporary homes to the former Arjo Wiggins paper mill site in West Cardiff. They include 358 homes for open market sale by Lovell and 442 homes for rent – which will be managed by Cadwyn Housing Association – for the Tirion Group. The scheme is going ahead with the support of the Welsh Government and financial backing from the Principality Building Society, and is being developed by the Tirion Group in partnership with Lovell.