Libby loves life as an ap­pren­tice joiner

The Herald - Scotland's Homes - - News -

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.

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