Shane, a story of student to bricklayer!

Shane was a student at Northfleet Technology College, one of our Schools Partnership Schools in our North Kent hub.

We first really got to know Shane when he joined us on our Skills Bus activity, organised for selected students at Northfleet Technology College that had shown an interest and capacity for construction careers. Shane was finding it hard to fully engage in school life, feeling out of place in the learning environment with nothing really firing up his interest.

During the Skills Bus session, the students worked together to construct a picnic table for the school. The practical side of construction really appealed to Shane. He enjoyed being given a set of instructions to follow out to completion, ending up with a finished product.  

In order to further expand their knowledge of the trade professions, we also arranged a trip for the students to the new Dementia Village being built by Jenner Contractors Ltd. Shane found the trip really inspiring, throwing himself into every practical task given to him. Shane found the day running away with itself, coming to an end so much quicker than an ordinary school day. Out of the designing, carpentry and bricklaying tasks, Shane found an affinity for bricklaying and began turning his sights to a career as a bricklayer.  

After working with Shane and other year 11 students from Northfleet Technology College for almost a year, the Trust arranged for the Apprenticeship Manager from Taylor Wimpey to come and speak to a group of Year 11 students from North Kent. After learning more about apprenticeships and Taylor Wimpey, 25 young people followed up with Taylor Wimpey to hear more about their apprenticeship opportunities. 7 young people made a full application to Taylor Wimpey, including Shane who applied for their bricklaying apprenticeship. We’re very proud of our strong industry relationships and how they allow us to help the young people we work with, levelling the playing field for them. After having met the students, and on our recommendation, Taylor Wimpey decided to fast track all 7 applicants to the assessment centre stage of the application process. 

The application process for an apprenticeship can be very competitive and consists of a number of different stages. For the Taylor Wimpy application process, a written application is followed by an assessment centre and finally, an individual interview. Shane has a quiet, reserved nature and the prospect of having to ‘compete’ with other applicants in a group setting during the assessment centre was a daunting task for him. Our Senior Programme Manager for North Kent, Donna, spent time with Shane coaching him through the process, giving him top tips on how best to present himself and make himself feel more confident. Ultimately, Donna reassured Shane that every company needs a mixture of employees to create a successful working environment. Not everyone can be a leader and it’s just as important to demonstrate to an employer that you are a person who is determined, hardworking and eager to succeed in your role.

Shane successfully navigated his way through the assessment centre and found himself invited to the final stage, the individual interview. Many of us have felt the trepidation that a looming interview creates and for Shane the interview represented a huge hurdle he’d have to overcome. Shane was feeling a great deal of anxiety over the interview, finding himself unable to articulate the reasons why he wanted to undertake a bricklaying apprenticeship with Taylor Wimpey or why Taylor Wimpey should give him the opportunity. Donna coached Shane through a mock interview, giving him the space to take the time to really consider his answers to the likely questions he would be asked in the real interview.

Following Donna’s advice, Shane created a set of interview notes to take in with him to the interview. Shane’s notes gave him the reassurance that he wouldn’t be left dry mouthed and lost for words at any point in the interview. When asked a question, and feeling himself getting a little flustered, Shane was able to refer to his notes and collect his thoughts before thoughtfully answering the question.

We were absolutely delighted when Taylor Wimpy offered Shane one of their bricklaying apprenticeships. Shane worked so hard and diligently to prepare himself for the application process. His success demonstrates that you don’t have to the biggest and loudest in a room to get noticed. Shane pulled upon his strengths and sufficiently prepared himself to overcome his barriers. His tenacity and determination to achieve a place on an apprenticeship set him apart from the crowd. We are in no doubt that he will make the most of his apprenticeship and believe he will become a very loyal and valued member of the Taylor Wimpey team.