A WARRINGTON apprentice is one of the first in the country to take part in a new style of apprenticeship, which is taking a traditional trade forward for a new era.
Matthew Nugent is one of 11 apprentices enrolled on a new programme launched by national trade body, the Builders Merchant Federation (BMF).
He is placed at E.Tupling, based in Winwick, a specialist distributor of underfloor heating, renewables and building plumbing plastics.
Developed in partnership with LEAP (Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes), the new programme sees Matthew develop skills behind the counter and on the branch floor, combined with a bespoke digital training programme and industry-specific coaching to achieve his career goals.
He said: “The apprenticeship is good because it’s given me the chance to do something not many people have done before.
“Not many people get the chance to gain a qualification while learning on the job, so you get a good balance.”
“I prefer to do my qualification remotely, because when you’re hands on at work and you make mistakes, you can learn from them which you can’t do in a classroom.”
John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: “Apprentices like Matthew are vital to the future of the multi-billion pound construction industry and while the role can be very rewarding, it’s still often under the radar when people make career’s choices.
“Many people don’t associate our sector with a clear and exciting career path, but there’s a wealth of opportunities available and people with determination and ambition will find that their efforts are well-rewarded.
“This an industry where it is possible to go from starting out working in the yard to become a director of the business and it’s a route that many people in leadership roles in our sector have followed.”
BMF represents 800 merchant and supplier companies who together have combined sales of over £43bn and employ over 221,000 people in the building materials industry.
It joined forces with LEAP to launch the revamped apprenticeship programme earlier this year, building on the BMF’s extensive experience offering an apprenticeship that offers an innovative approach within this traditional sector.
Under the new scheme, there’s a focus on allowing apprentices to learn on the job while they gain their qualification through virtual learning, adding a new level of flexibility to the industry.
Participants are also able to access a significant amount of coaching and one to one time with their mentor, which further enhances their learning experience.
Aaron Brown, Apprenticeship Specialist at LEAP, said: “It’s been amazing to meet Matthew and the other new apprentices from across the BMF family.
“We can immediately see the passion they have for what they do and we are incredibly excited to be part of their development journey.”
The BMF has developed a specific website to showcase career opportunities in the building materials sector at http://www.buildingmaterialscareers.com/