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Dudley apprentice wins through to finals of Young Builder of the Year Awards

Dudley construction apprentice Calum Harris – who has beaten dyslexia to build a successful career – has won a place in the finals of the 2017 Young Builder of the Year Awards. He was nominated by Lovell, for his national award.

Organised by charity Youthbuild UK, they celebrate the achievements of young people who have overcome barriers to train or work in the construction industry.

Dudley construction apprentice Calum Harris – who has beaten dyslexia to build a successful career – has won a place in the finals of the 2017 Young Builder of the Year Awards.

Eighteen-year-old Calum, who lives in Tividale in the West Midlands, will now join other finalists at the awards ceremony at the House of Commons on 18 October when the winners will be announced. The finalists will also enjoy a trip on the London Eye.

Lovell nominated Calum because of the way he has coped with the difficulties posed by his dyslexia. With the company’s support, the young trainee is successfully working towards his NVQ Level 2 Maintenance Operations qualification – in spite of having struggled with English and Maths at school.

He says: “I was determined to build a good career for myself despite this so started a carpentry course. I loved it and decided to apply for a multi-skilled apprenticeship with Lovell. Although I didn’t have the grades I needed, Lovell interviewed me, were impressed by my determination and gave me a chance.”

As well as one-to-one training, Lovell provides Calum with additional support and advice on alternative learning methods to cope with his dyslexia. The teenager is learning his trade based on a major housing refurbishment programme which Lovell is undertaking for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and is also studying on day release at Dudley College.

He says: “Lovell has been very supportive during my NVQ, helping me develop my construction skills and knowledge as well as employability and social skills. I love the variety of my Maintenance Operations course. So far, I have been working on site with experienced carpenters fitting fire doors, internal flooring, stud work, second fix kitchens, skirting and architraves. I am also learning plastering, wall tiling, painting and decorating, bricklaying and slabbing. Most of all I enjoy seeing a job finished well and the difference I have made – for example, if I’m adding a plinth to finish off a newly fitted kitchen.”

Calum, who joined Lovell in February 2016, has received advice and support from another Lovell employee with dyslexia and also been helped by Dudley College to learn coping strategies.

Craft training advisor Dave Jones, who nominated Calum for the Youthbuild UK award, says: “Since Calum started his apprenticeship, we have been extremely impressed by his positive attitude to work and learning. Calum has had to overcome a number of barriers during his training but has tackled every challenge with determination and keenness. He takes great pride in producing excellent work. He has become self-reliant and requires minimal supervision to carry out tasks to a high standard.

“Calum thoroughly deserves his place in the Young Builder of the Year Awards finals and we will all be rooting for him to win at the awards ceremony.”

Councillor Les Jones, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We work hard to provide opportunities for young people to learn skills that are the foundations for a career and I am delighted to see Calum doing so well. The work we have contracted to Lovell will equip him with valuable skills in the building trade and hopefully being shortlisted for the Young Builder of the Year Awards will give him the confidence to build on that.”

For more information on Lovell apprenticeships and how you can get involved visit here.