Published by Becky Freeman
Posted on 7th February 2024
This week is National Apprenticeship Week 2024, and we thought we would share again the interview with our very own former apprentice, Lanview Chairman, Damon Golder, where he discusses his thoughts on current apprenticeship schemes within the construction industry, as well as sharing his experience of being a young apprentice himself in the 1980s…
Hi Damon, what do you think apprenticeships mean to a business, and what value can they bring?
Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce – you can adapt their training according to the needs of your business.
Do you take on apprentices at Lanview? How does it work in terms of aligning day-to-day jobs/tasks within the company and an apprentice’s college?
Yes, at Lanview we fully understand the benefits of employing apprentices, and the benefits work for both parties. As the employer, we are able to train the apprentice to perform their required role. Often when I talk to our apprentices about their experience, they will say that when they are in college and university lectures with full-time degree and college students, they as apprentices are so much further advanced due to the fact that they are working within the industry four days a week. Personally, I believe we give our apprentices a great all-round learning experience, and a far broader experience than simply the degree and college subject that they are studying for. We are currently working with our third apprentice, and I can’t see a reason for us not to continue down the apprentice route.
How have apprenticeships changed over the years since you’ve been working within construction?
The apprenticeship schemes have changed enormously since I did mine back in the 80’s. Back in those days apprenticeships were only available to people wanting to learn a trade i.e. Carpenters, Bricklayers , Plumbers and such like, but nowadays you obtain apprenticeships in almost all areas of employment, which I believe is great way of learning on the job.
Tell us about your own personal experience of being an apprentice when starting your career…
I started my search to became an apprentice carpenter when I was in my last year at school, and by May 1981 I had received offers from the three largest Construction companies at the time offering apprenticeships: Bovis, Laing and Taylor Woodrow. You will see from my offer letter (pictured) that I started on 87p per hour! Taylor Woodrow had their own training school at the rear of their head office in Southall, which all apprentices attended for the first 6 months of their 3 year apprenticeship.
For four days a week for the first six months, I would travel from Streatham to Southall, and the remaining day of the week I would travel to Neasden Technical College. After the first six months and if you passed your probationary period you would be allocated a construction site to attend to continue your training, all whilst continuing your day release at Neasden College. Personally, I believe that I learnt far more out on site than I ever did at the training school or college, however, back in the 80’s Health and Safety wasn’t acknowledged as being as important as it is now, and as such I can see why the period in the training school and college was necessary for a 16 ½ year old boy. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as an apprentice, working on some great construction sites with some real characters who have influenced the person I have become. It was as an apprentice that I met my business partner of 35 years, a young shuttering hand by the name of Derek Travers.
What would your advice be to anyone looking to undertake an apprenticeship in the construction industry?
Personally I feel if you are serious about wanting an apprentice with an employer, you have to put yourself out, persevere, and convince the employer that you are worth giving an opportunity to.