For even the most experienced of workers, a perfect score in the CSkills Health, Safety & Environment test is a very desirable achievement. That Owen Wood accomplished this in the infancy of his career is all the more impressive. Ten months ago, Owen lined up with a new team of Derek Lewis Ltd apprentices as part of an initiative designed to introduce the next generation to the construction world and equip them with all the skills needed to thrive in this challenging, yet greatly rewarding profession. The significance of the timing of this is not lost on him.
‘I’ve been fortunate to join Derek Lewis Ltd at a time when the company is growing. You see the more innovative and interesting projects coming up and it’s exciting. Even in the short time I’ve been here I’ve seen the company grow, taking on increasingly bigger projects and then looking to the next phase.’
Owen’s time at Derek Lewis Ltd has been productive and varied. Engaging in both office and site-based roles, he has come to gain a good understanding of both the company and the industry. He has since progressed to taking up a role as apprentice engineer, and already has an idea of the key skills required to succeed in the field.
‘You need a number of skills, of course, but I would identify problem-solving as absolutely essential. Communication is important as well, so being a ‘people person’ helps massively. You do need an interest in construction and infrastructure; fortunately it’s an interesting subject to begin with.’
As a firm believer of investment in people, Derek Lewis Ltd has always strived to assist in personal development, as well as investing heavily in training. This of course applies especially to apprentices, but how is Owen finding the Derek Lewis Ltd experience personally?
‘I’m really enjoying it. Everyone is really friendly, from the operatives, all the way up to the management. You really feel as though you can approach people, either with a concern or just to share knowledge. When you’re starting out you need that, you need to know you can go to someone for help and that’s something I’ve always been able to do here.’
Due to start Level 3 of his apprenticeship in September, Owen looks set to continue his excellent progression at the company. It’s a success desirable for all apprentices and is a great encouragement to those thinking of taking up an apprenticeship. What advice would Owen give to someone thinking of applying for one?
‘Go for it – it’s definitely the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s not easy getting on the first rung of the ladder, and an apprenticeship can often be the best way to do it. It opens doors; and if you can stay within a company and progress, then all the better.’