Sheffield College apprentices are building their skills and career prospects in a new partnership with a Derbyshire-based employer.

Phoenix Brickwork (UK) Limited is a national masonry contractor, which operates for blue chip construction companies. This year, the Company has decided to partner with the College to recruit four bricklaying apprentices to join their training programme.

Harry Bagshaw, 17, Thomas Straw, 18, and Liam Jones, 18, started their apprenticeships in November joining a fourth apprentice Jacob Rodgers, 18, who started  in August working with a team of experienced bricklayers on the Lower Don Valley Flood Defence Scheme with Phoenix for main contractor, Carillion.

The new recruits will be assigned to the Sheffield Retail Quarter, a new development underway in the city centre for main contractor, BAM Construction.

Victoria Taylor, Director of Construction, The Sheffield College, said: “Training apprentices offers employers a fantastic opportunity to mould and train new talent to the skills needs of their business.”

She added: “We are delighted to work with Phoenix Brickwork, and support regional business growth and employment opportunities for young people. We would encourage more employers to get in touch to benefit from the opportunities that apprenticeships bring.”

Christian Watson, Managing Director, Phoenix Brickwork, said: “Our apprenticeship programme aims to give something back to the next generation, and address a skill shortage in the construction industry. We pair our apprentices with experienced and time served bricklayers who want to pass on their skillset to young people in order to ensure the future of brickwork in the UK.”

He explained: “I was very fortunate to benefit from this route into employment, starting my career as an apprentice in 2004 when I was just 18. That was the inspiration for Phoenix’s Apprenticeship Programme, which has grown and developed year on year since 2014, mirroring the growth of the Company.”

Apprentice Harry Bagshaw, 17, said: “I chose an apprenticeship because it’s a good way to learn about the subject that I am studying as well as getting paid to do it. I feel happy about getting an apprenticeship with Phoenix Brickwork, as it is a big company with a lot of potential for me to move on in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing how the job works out in the real world.”

The apprentices are enrolled on the NVQ Level 2 in Trowel Occupations at the College. Phoenix pride themselves on their commitment to health and safety so ensure that all new trainees attend the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) health and safety awareness course, as well as providing in house training sessions covering all aspects of safety on construction sites. This includes subjects such as working at heights and safe manual handling, with the courses run by the Company’s own accredited trainers at the head office in Pinxton, Derbyshire.