A 31-year-old mother-of-three from Northolt has embraced a radical career change by leaving her role as a florist and accepting a plumbing apprenticeship at St George's Dickens Yard scheme in west London.
Candice Allvey is one of 40 apprentices being given the opportunity to work on St George developments. The residential developer, which is part of the Berkeley Group, is supporting apprentices across all disciplines as part of its commitment to delivering local employment and training opportunities. Each apprentice performs a trade on the St George site, with skills ranging from plumbing and electrical installation to administration and office support.
Allvey spoke positively on the opportunity to work so close to home: "After leaving floristry behind me, I went down a very different road of training to become a plumber. The contrast between industries is quite striking, but through on-going training, mentor reviews, and regular contact with my line manager, the transition has been made so much easier. I still enjoy arranging flowers from time to time, but knowing your way around water pipes has its own advantages too."
Madalitso Banda, a 19-year-old from nearby in Ealing Broadway, also works on the Dickens Yard development in a business administration apprenticeship role. Banda spoke on his opportunity to work so close to home: "Before this apprenticeship, I volunteered at TASHA Foundation over in Brentford, while attending West Thames College. Having the chance to enhance my skill set on a development that is only minutes from home has a great number of benefits, not only in terms of my career progression, but also giving back to the local community. I coordinate facility use and building management across the site. I also help direct telephone enquiries, greet office guests and schedule internal meetings."
Ian Dobie, Managing Director of St George West London, comments: "We are committed to providing opportunities for local people on our sites and to helping apprentices gain the valuable experience needed to learn their trade. National Apprenticeship Week is a wonderful initiative to recognise the wide range of training and employment avenues available for school-leavers and aspiring young professionals."
National Apprenticeship Week runs from March 3 to 7 and is organised by The National Apprenticeship Service, part of the Skills Funding Agency, to highlight the importance of apprenticeships to developing a proficient workforce.
Located in the heart of Ealing Town Centre, Dickens Yard is a mixed-use development that is helping to drive the regeneration of Ealing. The development will comprise 698 apartments, more than 100,000 sq. ft. of retail, restaurant and leisure space and three new public squares. 175 people are currently working on the construction site.
About St George
- Between 2000 and 2013 St George delivered 8,240 homes; 2,310 (30%) of which are affordable; 800,000 sq. ft. of commercial floor space and 83,000 sq. ft. of community space, as well as 30 acres of open space (a third of the site areas).
- 2,000 people currently work on St George development sites.
About the Berkeley Group
- The Berkeley Group builds fantastic homes in amazing places. The Berkeley Group builds almost 4,000 homes each year for everyone from first time buyers to senior living, and social rented housing to private family homes.
- In 2012, the Berkeley Group supported over £2.6bn of economic activity in the UK; a 25% increase on the previous year and sustained 16,000 jobs.
- The Berkeley Group is publicly-owned and listed on the London Stock Exchange as a FTSE 250 company. It is made up of five autonomous companies: St George, St James, Berkeley, Berkeley First and St Edward.
- The Berkeley Group was voted Britain's Most Admired Company across all industries in 2011 and has come second in 2013.
- Berkeley Group has been ranked Britain's most sustainable major housebuilder for the last eight years in a row by the Next Generation benchmark.
- The Berkeley Foundation supports young people and their communities across London and the South of England through charitable donations and the talent and time of our staff. Since 2011 the Foundation has committed £5 million to support young people and their communities.