Aaron Lawton from Flixton was on his way to buy his girlfriend some flowers when he got the phone call he’d been waiting for.
Trafford Builders Operations Director Ken Burke was calling to say Aaron’s Apprenticeship funding had come through and he was now officially hired as the company’s apprentice joiner. A few minutes later, Ken was driving Aaron to his first job.
“I was a bit eager – a bit keen to start,” says Aaron, who had called the company weeks earlier off his own accord, to say he wanted to be an apprentice. “I love learning new things and making my family proud,” he says. “My girlfriend Linzi says when we get a house I’ve got to do lots of different jobs on it. She quite likes the fact that she’s got a boyfriend who can do different things.”
When Aaron left school at 16 he studied to be a personal trainer, but his step dad advised him to invest in learning a trade.
“I do prefer the construction trade over personal training because with personal training you’re just working 1:1 with a client for an hour. With construction you’re doing something different every day. I’m travelling to different places on different jobs, meeting lots of different clients.”
When he started at Trafford Builders, Aaron thought he’d just be doing joinery. But the Managing Director, Ben Pepper feels it is important that apprentices learn a variety of trades, and have contact with customers and the rest of the team.
Ben said: “Trafford Builders are a domestic construction company so their priority is to bring in apprentices who will rise through the ranks. Once fully qualified, apprentices are given the opportunity to run projects under the guidance of one of our directors. If they want to leave Trafford Builders they will take transferable skills with them, including communication skills.”
Aaron enjoys learning how joinery fits in with other trades.
“I’ve done a door frame, skirting boards and I’ve made a roof with Ken. It had lots of timber joists coming down. I’m doing a lot of bricklaying as well. I’ve never done that before,” he says.
Mondays to Thursdays are Trafford Builders days and Fridays are spent at The Skills Company. Aaron is on a level 2 Apprenticeship in wood occupations – site carpentry and joinery. Aaron trains at The Greater Manchester SkillCentre in Trafford Park, where he is working towards a Level 2 Diploma.
Trafford Builders were advised on funding, including employer grants by The Skills Company and The Skills Company organised Aaron’s enrolment and supplied an Assessor – an advanced craft joiner – to go out on site to help Aaron work towards his NVQ level 2, which is the site-based part of the Apprenticeship framework.
Asked if there are there any down sides to the job, Aaron replied:
“The hardest thing is you get very tired very easily it’s quite a physical job when you’re moving stuff around. We have to knock down walls and then we’re running back and forth with stuff to the skip. I’ve got stronger, lifting more things around and heavier weights than I would lift in the gym. It’s more physically demanding on the body.”
So what’s the verdict, Aaron? “I’d definitely recommend building. You experience new things and meet new people.”
Watch this space – we’ll update you on how Aaron’s doing, 6 months into the job.
For more information on Trafford Builders, click here.