Two years ago, 17 year old student, Olivia Canniffe, chanced upon a Government advertisement for an apprenticeship scheme at design led developer, Bewley. She discovered that, if chosen as the successful candidate, the scheme would enable her to focus on a subject she really enjoyed whilst, at the same time, learning a skill set ‘on the job’ and earning a salary. This departure from the more conventional path chosen by her contemporaries, was both bold and enterprising. Two years on and it has proved to be one of the best choice’s Olivia has ever made.
At 19, Olivia has just gained a distinction in all twelve of her BTEC Level 3 Diploma units which she has been undertaking in Construction and the Built Environment – not bad for a young woman who, in her own words ‘didn’t respond well to the pressure of passing exams within the school environment’! She has progressed further within her role as trainee technical co-ordinator at Bewley and is now responsible for her own sites as well as going out to tender to consultants on new sites. She has relocated from being based on site at Bewley’s Jubilee Meadows development in Hersham, Surrey, to Bewley HQ in Hampshire. This has given her both the ability to meet and build upon relationships cross divisionally within the Bewley group as well as the opportunity to assist senior technical staff with other projects they are working on.
“Each day is brilliant because it is different” she says. “I feel I am constantly learning and progressing, building up a sound knowledge base, learning a variety of different skills and working with some really amazing and talented people.”
Her work relocation has also meant a change in personal circumstances with the need to move out of home and into a house share closer to the office, bringing with it a new found independence.
“Whilst there are days when I really miss being at home, the social element is so much better. I’ve got friends attending the local uni and the much reduced commuting time means I have more me time.”
So what’s next for this rising young star?
“I’ve got the opportunity to continue with my apprenticeship whilst I undertake the next level of qualification” she says. “As a result, over the next two years, I will be undertaking level 4 of a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Construction and the Built Environment. I will do this part-time and continue with my work as a trainee technical co-ordinator for Bewley over the same period.”
Andrew Brooks, Managing Director of Bewley, says: “Olivia’s results are thoroughly well deserved and are a reflection of her work ethic which is dedicated, enthusiastic and hard working – we feel extremely fortunate to have her working at Bewley.
“As many people will already be aware, there is currently a critical shortage of talented young people entering the construction industry and Olivia personifies exactly the type of young individual so desperately needed. I hope her story will serve as inspiration for a new generation of young people to consider construction as a viable career path. It encompasses a broad variety of skill set and, unlike many other industry’s today, can guarantee a job for life.”