If you want to get into the building industry I’d say an apprenticeship is the best way to start because they can mould you into how they want you to be and they can train you in their methods.
Hello I’m Sian Young, I’m 21 and I am currently studying a Level 3 Business Administration course at South Essex College and my apprenticeship is based at Wilmott Dixon.
I basically took on the apprenticeship as way to get into the building industry and to get into the document controlling position. I had to start at the bottom and be trained and learn all the ways to better my skills and get my foot in the door. My job involves a lot of documents, sitting in meetings and writing minutes. I am a bit like a PA to the build managers, I chase up clients, I issue drawings, measure health and safety on site and generally help out around the office.
It has worked out very well for me because I have gained full-time employment with Wilmott Dixon after eight to nine months of being here as an apprentice because they wanted to take me on early.
If you want to get into the building industry I’d say an apprenticeship is the best way to start because they can mould you into how they want you to be and they can train you in their methods. This means that you will have further opportunities to gain employment permanently.
The College was very helpful for me because they would come to the site and monitor what I was doing to see if my work fitted in with my units and see if I could expand my units to get more credits on my qualification. They would make sure that I was okay in work and being looked after, which was good.
Being a girl in a man’s world is very hard but I get treated with the same respect. It was weird because I think people are surprised at what I could do and they’re shocked when they see a girl up there at reception but it’s a good environment.
When I first left school I started an apprenticeship in hairdressing and did Level 2 and Level 3, completing the apprenticeship after two years and then I took a gap year out because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. In that year I worked as a receptionist at a gym because I knew that I wanted to go into the administration/PA side of things. I then started a Level 2 apprenticeship in Business Administration whilst working in a normal office. The company I worked for was holding mock interviews and one of the companies that came in was Wilmott Dixon. I got talking to them and told them that I was finishing my Level 2. They asked if I had my CV because they had a Level 3 apprenticeship coming up and they offered it to me. I have been here ever since.
In the future I want to work towards being a PA for a build manager or a director within the company. I would also like to work in London as a PA. I would definitely like to stay in document controlling to build experience in order for me follow that route and work my way up.
I would say to someone watching this to go for it because you have so much more opportunity when you start as an apprentice to get permanent employment.
Employer Martin Webb.
Hello, I’m Martin Webb, senior build manager for Wilmott Dixon. Being an ex-apprentice myself as a carpenter I found apprenticeships a really good way of learning. You get the College and the onsite experience, both of which are very valuable when you are starting out in the construction industry.
Sian hit the ground running because it is a fast environment and she learnt an awful lot in a very short period of time. She has become a very valuable member of the team.
I personally feel that it is a really good thing to have an apprentice. You can mould them to how your company works and you can teach them your good habits and your good ways. This means that the apprentice becomes really useful to yourself and other people in the construction industry.