What inspired you to become a carpenter?
I used to work in a pub for seven years. I’ve always loved fixing things and, after talking to a carpenter in the pub one day, he took me along to a couple of jobs. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to retrain.
How does a typical workday begin?
I need to travel to London to be at the Grain House site at 7.30am. So I set my alarm for 5.30am, catch the train at 6.15am and then take the Elizabeth Line to Tottenham Court Road. From there I enjoy a walk through Covent Garden when the streets are relatively quiet.
My day on site begins with going through the day’s work with the Project Manager and Site Supervisor. In the morning I might be working with a qualified carpenter on doorframes, while in the afternoon I could be fixing worktops. No two days are the same.
Are you on site every day?
As part of my apprenticeship, I go on block release to the Building Crafts College in Stratford, where I’m studying for a Level 3 qualification in Site Carpentry. Normally, I’ll spend four to five weeks working on-site, then I’ll have a week at college. The course is a mix of theory and practical skills. What I like is the fact that I find out how to do new things – at the moment we’re learning quite a lot of roofing techniques.
Do you learn a lot during the day?
Yes, the experienced people I work with are really patient and take the time to teach me how to improve my skills. It’s a rewarding experience.
What surprised you most about becoming an apprentice carpenter?
When I used to work in the pub, I heard a lot of horror stories about things that happened on construction sites. Working for Brown & Carroll I was pleasantly surprised about how strict Health & Safety is on site. You can’t listen to music and you need the correct PPE all the time. It’s good to know everyone’s safety is taken seriously.
When do you finish your day?
On-site, we finish at 4.30pm, which gives me time to get home, relax and prepare for another day. I’m so glad I decided to make this career change.