Mitchell & Urwin takes on 22 new apprentices

The Mitchell & Urwin Academy programme received a boost this month with a new intake of 22 bricklaying apprentices. This brings the total number of apprentices in our Academy to 37 since its launch in 2015.

Included in this year’s intake is our first female bricklaying apprentice, Bethany Skinner from Hull. Bricklaying has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – in fact 99% of construction workforces are men – so it’s fantastic to see young women like Bethany embracing the profession. We hope to encourage more women into the construction industry and are happy to talk to any girls who are considering the professsion and who need advice on it. 

The M&U Apprentice Academy is one of the most forward thinking apprentice programmes in the building industry. It offers a four-year apprentice framework to help young people gain on-site bricklaying experience while they get their college diploma on a day or block release programme. They can join straight from school, midway through their college tuition or once they’ve completed their course.

Throughout the apprenticeship, students are paired with an apprenticeship partner – their first two-and-one gang – and a mentor who will work side by side with them as they master the trade, giving unparalleled levels of continuity and support. By the end of the apprenticeship, our Academy members will have achieved an NVQ Level 3 qualification in bricklaying and have significant workplace skills and experience. We offer a far longer than the industry-standard period of site experience to build confidence and skills. And once the students are fully qualified, we strive to offer them a permanent role with Mitchell and Urwin or our customers.

To kick off our apprentice programme for 2017, we held two assessment days on 20th and 21st July, during which applicants had interviews and a practical session building walls. Those who made it through were invited to the Induction Day, which took place on 1st September. It was a busy day due to the volume of new recruits and the fact that we invited the entire Academy along as everyone received new kit. We wanted to give our new, young recruits workwear more suitable for their age, so we swapped out their polo shirts for t-shirts, and sweatshirts with red hoodies. Everyone loved their new uniform and it’s fantastic to see them looking and feeling part of our team.

They didn’t just get new workwear. As always, all our new recruits also got tool kits and diaries, plus plenty of induction training, a welcome chat by founder Richard Urwin and a health and safety workshop by Leigh Adamson. Face fit tests were conducted to ensure safety equipment fitted correctly.  After site induction, paperwork and risk assessment slots, the new recruits were assigned their mentors who will be guiding their progress throughout the programme. Photographs and lunch followed, new kit was handed out to everyone before a final Q&A session was held. It was a fantastic day and a great start as these new recruits start their career in the construction industry.

New Graduates

But it wasn’t just a day to welcome new recruits. We also celebrated the graduation of two previous Apprentices. Liam Smith and Ryan Gibbs have been part of our Apprentice programme and are now qualified brick layers, working as Mitchell & Urwin sub-contractors on customer sites. Well done Liam and Ryan!