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Lovell in Norwich backs ‘essential’ construction apprenticeships

With National Apprenticeship Week (14 to 18 March) set to get under way, Norwich housing developer and regeneration company Lovell is recruiting for apprentices across East Anglia and encouraging young people to consider a construction career.

Apprentice training is a key part of the company’s commitment to creating lasting benefits for local communities – as well as being vital to the future of the construction industry, currently facing one of its most critical skills shortages. It’s estimated that over 230,000 new construction jobs will be created over the next five years making it essential that new workers are brought into the industry and equipped with the right skills.

Life-changing opportunity

Lovell apprentice plumber Billy Smith

“Investing in local trade apprenticeships has never been more important,” says Lovell regional director Simon Medler.  “Bringing new people into the industry and giving them the skills to build careers is essential not just for our own business but for the industry as a whole. It’s also a fundamental part of Lovell’s legacy commitment to the places where we work and our belief that our housing projects should benefit the whole community. We’ve an established track record of investing in apprentices and have seen the difference an apprenticeship can make to someone’s life.  A number of our own senior team – including Lovell regional operations manager Trevor Haystead – started their careers as apprentices.”

Simon, who heads up Lovell’s East Anglia regional business, is another example. He began his own career as an apprentice carpenter and joiner before moving into construction management.  He says: “Being an apprentice is a great route into the industry and with trade skills such as bricklaying now in demand across the UK, this is an excellent time to do it. Being an apprentice gives you the chance to learn as you earn, with a network of support around you, and develop a skill that could enable you to start your own business or progress a career in site or project management.”

Two former Lovell apprentices who have both built flourishing careers with the company’s help are currently managing high-profile housing schemes for the company in East Anglia.

Lovell senior site manager Benn Nappin

Benn Nappin, who started his career as an apprentice bricklayer with Lovell in 1998, is now a senior site manager managing the completion of new-build homes at the company’s flagship Gallus Fields development in Northrepps, Norfolk.  The £8 million, 41-home development is creating 33 homes for open market sale by Lovell and eight affordable homes for Victory Housing Trust. Benn, who lives in Costessey, Norwich, says: “I would strongly recommend an apprenticeship as a way to start a career in construction. By beginning on site and working my way up, there isn’t much that I haven’t been involved with while the qualifications I have gained – including the Level 6 NVQ diploma in site manager – have given me a wider understanding of the business as a whole.  My background in bricklaying means I’m very hands-on in my approach, something which has helped me consideratbly in my role as a senior site manager.”

Tommy Salmon also began his working life as an apprentice bricklayer with Lovell and was last year named one of the country’s top site managers. After he completed his apprenticeship, Tommy was promoted by Lovell to the position of trainee site manager and supported during his studies for a Level 6 NVQ Diploma in site management. In 2015, he was named national Site Supervisor of the Year in the LABC (Local Authority Building Control) Building Excellence Awards. Tommy is currently managing a major redevelopment programme in Stowmarket, Suffolk, replacing outdated council homes with brand-new properties. “Everything I’ve achieved in my career began with my apprenticeship,” says Tommy. “I’ve been a site manager in charge of my own projects for more than two years now.  The feeling of satisfaction and pride when the building work is complete and you hand over the finished homes is amazing.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Lovell apprenticeships in East Anglia, please visit