In September 2021, 16-year-old Bryn Brooks started his Level 2 Plastering course with South & City College Birmingham after leaving WMG Academy Solihull earlier in the year.
Bryn’s passion for working in construction trades started at an early age. With two significantly older brothers already working in the sector, Bryn was able to earn pocket money at weekends labouring with his brothers, whether it be plastering or painting and decorating or other odd jobs.
Within just a week of the new academic year starting, Dale Powell from Equans, (part of the ENGIE Group) came to speak to students to offer work experience opportunities. Equans look after and maintain social housing for the north side of Birmingham.
Bryn was eager to take part and started his week-long work placement on the 11th October.
Arriving an hour early on his first day and not knowing what to expect, Bryn described himself as being excited and nervous. He was partnered with an experienced plastering mentor for the week. Day one saw him removing wallpaper ready for further work the following day and on day two, he was applying bonding to walls.
So impressed was his mentor with Bryn’s work ethic, enthusiasm and ability to learn quickly that by day four, Dale offered him the opportunity to start a Multi-trade Apprenticeship, despite Equans not actively recruiting at the time. After a chat with his parents that evening, Bryn accepted on day five of his work placement. By the following Monday, Bryn was an apprentice.
Dale explained: “After such a long time without work experience due to the pandemic, it was great to see such enthusiastic students ready for the next challenge. Bryn was polite, asked questions and was eager to get started. After a couple of days his enthusiasm, passion, and natural talent really shone through, so much so that he was offered an apprenticeship the very next day. I would like to commend the college (and in particular Linda Watson) on their approach to placements and preparing the students for their next steps. I’m sure this won’t be the last student that impresses us on placement – thanks again.”
Linda Watson, Placement Officer for construction courses within the college added: “Having placed 130+ students with ENGIE over the last five years, I am aware of exactly what they are looking for in a student and I‘m able to match students to get the most out of their work experience.
“It is crucial for students to gain work experience in today’s climate, as they not only need the qualification, but also need to fully understand the qualities an employer requires, so when companies are hiring, they can visualise the potential employee within their business.”
The Multi-trade Apprenticeship will see Bryn learn plastering, plumbing, bricklaying, carpentry, electrics and painting & decorating skills.
When asked where he sees himself in a few years’ time, Bryn wants to become a skilled house maintenance operative, plus after years of inspiration watching programmes such as Homes under the Hammer and Grand Designs, in his spare time, he wants to renovate houses.
The college is looking forward to watching Bryn’s career develop over the coming years and wish him the very best of luck.