An Oldham apprentice is one of the first in the country to take part in a new style of apprenticeship, which brings a traditional trade into a new era.
Matthew Nugent is one of 11 apprentices enrolled in a new program launched by the national trade body, the Builders Merchant Federation (BMF).
Matthew is placed with E.Tupling based in Warrington, an independent specialist distributor of underfloor heating, renewable energy and building and plumbing plastics.
Developed in partnership with award-winning construction industry apprenticeship provider, LEAP (Learn as you Earn Apprenticeship Programmes), the new program allows Matthew to develop skills behind the counter and in branch, combined with a digital training program tailor-made and industry-specific coaching. .
He said: “The apprenticeship is good because it gave me the chance to do something few people have done before.
“Not many people have the chance to get a qualification while learning on the job, so you get a good balance.”
“I prefer to do my qualifying remotely because when you’re out in the field at work and you make mistakes, you can learn from them, which you can’t do in class.”
John Newcomb, chief executive of the Builders Merchants Federation, said: ‘Apprentices like Matthew are essential to the future of the multi-billion pound construction industry and while the role can be very rewarding it is still often under the radar when people make career choices. .
“Many people don’t associate our industry with a clear and exciting career path, but there are a wealth of opportunities available and those who are determined and ambitious will find their efforts well rewarded.
“It is an industry where you can start working in the yard to become a director of the company and it is a path that many people in management positions in our sector have followed.
BMF represents 800 merchant and supplier companies which together have a combined turnover of over £43 billion and employ over 221,000 people in the building materials industry.
It partnered with LEAP to launch the revamped apprenticeship program earlier this year.
Under the new program, the focus is on enabling apprentices to learn on the job while gaining their qualification through virtual learning.
Participants can also access a significant amount of one-on-one coaching with their mentor, which further enhances their learning experience.
Aaron Brown, Apprenticeship Specialist at LEAP, said: “It was amazing meeting 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.”