Young apprentice delights at life-changing job offer through Barking and Dagenham College scheme

Charlie (right) with Higgins Construction project manager Robin Capstick

Charlie (right) with Higgins Construction project manager Robin Capstick - Credit: Archant

A young apprentice has been transformed from a quiet and reserved teenager to a confident and ambitious worker after winning a full-time construction contract.

Charlie Gilbody joined the Higgins Construction and East Thames housing development site at Grove Farm as an apprentice bricklayer while studying for his NVQ level 3 at Barking and Dagenham College a year ago.

Charlie, who was offered a full-time role at the site for the length of the project on Monday last week (March 18) and £100 of builder’s mechant vouchers, said if it wasn’t for the apprenticeship he would be “sitting at home now, playing on my PlayStation and looking for work”.

He added: “As well as giving me the knowledge I’ve needed they’ve (the company) given me plenty of support and encouragement. I’ve learned to be more open and more confident and now I can speak to anyone.”

Tony Carruthers, deputy curriculum director for building crafts at Barking and Dagenham College, said: “Charlie has always applied himself to his studies and just needed the opportunity to transfer the skills learned to a ‘real work’ environment”

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Now the eighteen-year-old from Ilford has his sights set on a future in the industry, adding; “Now I have a full-time job I want to push on a bit, become a foreman in 10 years time maximum.”

Grove Farm is a development of 104 flats and houses in Redbridge and is one of a range of East Thames projects which offer opportunities to people across east London and Essex seeking a career in construction.

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