Libby loves life as an apprentice joiner
THE construction industry is crying out for more young people, and females in particular, to join the sector to help combat the skills shortages and rejuvenate the ageing workforce.
So when Chris Peace, managing director of Peace Recruitment, found out about Libby Hartley’s story, he knew he had to act. Libby, who is 16 from Edinburgh, has dreamed of becoming a joiner since 2nd year at school, but was having no luck finding an apprenticeship or suitable college course. She had just about given up hope when she attended a talk by Chris at her local youth group.
Chris explains: “When I heard her story I knew we needed to help. She ticks every box for what the construction industry is crying out for just now. She is young, hungry, and very eager to learn, and the fact she is female is also a big plus.”
A recent report from the Scape Group, entitled Sustainability In The Supply Chain, found that if the construction industry is to fight off the current skills shortage, there has to be a big drive to increase the number of apprenticeships. Plus, more needs to be done to address the gender gap which the report states is “acutely pronounced”.
Peace adds: “I passed Libby’s details onto my colleague Gavin Sullivan, who is our joinery and fit out specialist, and asked him to use his contacts in the industry. He quickly got a reply from SJS Property.
“She met with Derek Carter, Head of HR at the Sharkey Group, and he was blown away with how she came across, the feedback we got was she was an outstanding candidate.
“Libby is now SJS Property’s first ever female bench hand joiner apprentice, and splits her time between working and going to college. Its not often you get a real feel good story in this profession, but this is definitely it. We are very proud of our growing industry reputation for placing customer service before sales, and this is another good example.”
Derek Carter, Group HR Manager with the Sharkey Group, adds: “Libby ticked every box for us, as we are really trying hard to encourage more young people, and more females in particular, into the industry. However, this was certainly not the reason Libby got the job. She came across very well, and was extremely knowledgeable, passionate and enthusiastic.”
ON MERIT: Libby Hartley is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about construction but had all but given up on finding a route into work.