10 November 2015

More joinery apprentices than ever before have signed up to training with Buxton & Leek College as a recovering construction industry creates demand for more skilled craftsmen.

Already 19 trainees are making use of brand new workshop facilities at the college’s Leek campus for day-release training in both bench and site joinery. The fully equipped workshop allows trainees to hone their skills using the latest industry standard equipment and train for kitchen fitting in a specialist room setting. They are trained in college one day a week while learning "on the job" on the other four days apprenticed to local firms including Salt and Son of Leek, Chris Smith Building Services in Buxton, Hine House Carpentry and Brookeswood Joinery of Cheddleton.

Apprentices include Billie-Jo Simpson, 17, from Newhaven who is employed at Craft Furniture in Buxton. She said:

“I have always been interested in furniture making and when I left Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in the summer, I looked for an employer who would allow me to learn on the job. I am enjoying my work and, as well as earning a wage, will gain my NVQ Level 2 qualification in carpentry and joinery.”

Employer Chris Smith from Buxton who himself trained at the Leek campus of Buxton & Leek College, said:

“I’ve got two apprentices, Adam and Connor, undergoing training and I think that the new workshop facilities are just superb. The facilities are way better than when I was training and the NVQ assessor visits us "on the job" to check on progress and complete the paperwork for us.”

Assessor Sam Banks said:

“We are the busiest we have ever been in college and, thanks to our good links with local industry, we have found placements for the majority of our current apprentices. However, we do still have some trainees who are looking for positions so are keen to hear from any local employers interested in getting on board.

“Some employers are a bit cautious about the apprenticeship route but we are there to guide them through the whole process and we do find that many trainees stay loyal to the company that trained them. There is also a chance for trainees to progress to higher qualifications including the HNC and degree courses if they are looking for promotion to jobs such as site manager.”

Buxton & Leek College is an emfec member, providing a comprehensive further education, higher education and training service to students of all ages and abilities from Leek, Buxton and the surrounding areas.