Builder Gavin Forehead (above left) wishes he’d had the chance to do an apprenticeship. That’s why he’s only too happy to give young people the chance to benefit from this unique type of on-the-job training.
Gavin, director of GF Construction (SW) Ltd in St Agnes, has taken on around seven apprentices over the years. He said it’s a great way for people to learn and develop the tools of the trade, as well as boosting confidence and picking up life skills.
“It’s a great way for young people to learn,” said Gavin. “I’ve always had apprentices. It’s great being around them and helping them to learn the trade. I didn’t have the opportunity to do an apprenticeship but it’s something I would really have enjoyed doing.
“It puts you right there, right in the big, wide world of work.”
Gavin’s latest apprentice is 22-year-old Joe Hornbuckle (pictured) from St Agnes. Joe has been working with Gavin since 2017. Two years ago, he decided to go for a Carpentry and Joinery apprenticeship, run by Truro and Penwith College.
Joe said it’s been a great way to help him build a qualification in an area of the trade he really enjoys.
“I started out doing labouring and gradually figured out which road I wanted to take in the industry,” said Joe, who knew he didn’t want to go to university but wanted to work towards a qualification to secure his future. “I like the carpentry side of things,” he added. “I’m quite OCD when it comes to work being perfect, like, within millimetres. I’ve always been like that. I did carpentry throughout school and always really enjoyed it.”
Through his apprenticeship, Joe is not only learning about carpentry and joinery, but also about talking to customers, problem solving and working with a range of different people.
“It’s definitely helped my confidence,” said Joe. “I had no confidence when I first started because you’re scared of getting it wrong. I have to look at drawings and plans now and speak to customers – I wouldn’t have been able to do that before I started.”
Gavin says it’s been a real pleasure to watch Joe develop his skills.
“He’s been brilliant, really good,” says Gavin. “It’s about keeping their enthusiasm up and making sure they work alongside people that want to help them learn as well. Joe’s very conscientious. He listens and communicates really well with me and our clients, which is vital.”
The GF Construction team are currently working on two new builds, as well as a big refurbishment project, with more calls coming in all the time.
Gavin says business has, quite literally, been ‘through the roof’ since the coronavirus pandemic and it’s been great to have such a hard-working apprentice on board.
“I would recommend taking in an apprentice to anyone,” says Gavin. “I think it shows that a business is extremely professional. It shows that you want to push young people on to do what you do.”