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Get paid to learn a trade

The structure, content and ultimate value of many UK apprenticeship schemes has come in for criticism over recent weeks, though some of the providers have hit back in the media citing favourable comparisons with the likely career benefits of undertaking ‘easy’ university degrees: where many of the graduates remain unemployed for years or undertaking low skilled work such as shelf-stacking.

There is no doubt, however, that the current boom in the construction industry – coupled with the skills shortage remaining after the recent recession – has created a high demand for the traditional building trades; and underlined the value of the service offered by Plastic Surgeon which trains all its own staff.

For those not familiar with surface repair techniques, Plastic Surgeon’s nationwide teams of Finishers work on sites from schools and hospitals to volume housing and occupied offices: saving building components from having to be replaced. The service frees up trades like carpenters, plasterers, kitchen fitters, tilers and plumbers to carry on their main work; while making the snagging or repair process quicker, more economic and highly sustainable.

Amongst those who have joined the nationwide specialist Plastic Surgeon in recent years is Emma Jenks from Plymouth. In her 30s, Emma had tried factory work after leaving school and even run her own plumbing business for several years before suffering a serious period of ill health.

Looking for a change she saw a advert for Plastic Surgeon on a Government website: explaining what the job involved and how the company’s training programme was structured.

Emma recounts: “I spotted the Plastic Surgeon advert on the JobGov website which explained the company provides fully paid training as well as a van and the all the kit required. There was a telephone then a face-to-face interview and a day going out with one of the Finishers for a trial. That all went well so I then undertook the initial training course in Bovey Tracey before being placed with a senior Finisher to continue learning.

“You never stop learning with Plastic Surgeon, and you are mentored or go back to the ‘classroom’ for courses on new skills such as glass polishing or stone care, and brick-tinting. Any time I come up against something new I can always contact a senior Finisher or one of the trainers to get advice. And the new iPhones we have make it very easy to exchange pictures of a challenging new repair.”

As well as working in her home area, Emma has also been seconded to help out in Plastic Surgeon’s other regions and even been over to Germany to work on a cruise liner while it was in dry dock: broadening her work experience and fuelling her enthusiasm to learn more. She also endorses the viewpoint that with the career path and training available from a specialist contractor like Plastic Surgeon, that construction is a good industry for youngsters to get into.

She says: “The industry is growing fast and there is a lot of work out there, so you’ve got little fear of being made redundant, while it’s well paid and very varied. I get to do different work in a variety of locations almost every day.

“I feel very fortunate to be at Plastic Surgeon – it’s a good career and the day I got accepted I was ecstatic. You get to meet a lot of people while the work is different every day, as well as enjoyable.”

“I feel very fortunate to be at Plastic Surgeon – it’s a good career and the day I got accepted I was ecstatic. You get to meet a lot of people while the work is different every day, as well as enjoyable.”

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