To round off the week, we spoke to Frank Foy: our Apprentice Co-ordinator for the West:
You’re the Apprenticeship Co-ordinator for the West – how did that come about?
“In 2003 TJL was still at the early stage of growth and we decided to start employing apprentice joiners for our site operations. I used to work alongside the previous co-ordinators Craig and Ian who managed the apprentices, organised interviews, kept them right, liaised with CITB and colleges etc.
Circa 2008 the financial crash brought labour resource cuts throughout the industry and the UK, and we unfortunately had to stop taking on apprentices at that time due to a downturn in work. For the last ten years it has been abundantly clear that skills shortages have been very much evident with an ageing workforce and as such we needed to bring on the next generation of young people, the future so to speak.
As life in general and companies such as ours recovered from the financial crash circa 2011 and trading conditions were improving, we got busier and busier. It was then we recognised that we needed to bring apprentices back into the business again – and we finally had the resources and workflow to resume our apprenticeship scheme.
We discussed as a team our future apprenticeship plan and who wanted to look after it. I put my hand up to take on the role because I’d seen the system in action and I quite like helping young people; seeing them come in with good attitudes, working hard, enthusiasm and a desire to learn. I felt I could positively influence the lads and try and make their learning as enjoyable and as productive as it could be. I can also relate well to young people as I had 2 young sons myself and at the time was engaged in voluntary work with a youth football team which I loved.”
Do you enjoy the role?
I’ve been doing the role for about 8 years, and I love it! The apprentices are all very good which makes it a very satisfying role to be involved with – I like seeing them grow and become more confident in the workplace.
We’re giving our apprentices the opportunity of a lifetime to work on prestige, exciting, multi-million pound projects with industry veterans – and it’s fantastic to see them thrive.