Two apprentices who have known each other since primary school are working alongside each other at a new housing development in Leamington.
Sixteen-year-old Dan Whiting and Shay Browne, aged 17, have been recruited as apprentice carpenters by Warwick-based AC Lloyd Homes and are working on helping to build properties in phase 1B at Oakley Grove in Harbury Lane, Bishop’s Tachbrook.
The teenagers have been friends since meeting at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Leamington and they also both attended Myton School in Warwick.
Now, Dan and Shay are studying for their NVQ level two in carpentry and joinery at Moreton Morrell College, which is part of Warwickshire College Group, one day a week and the rest of the week they are putting their new carpentry skills into action from adding stud walls to skirting boards in the two, three, four and five-bedroom homes at Oakley Grove.
Dan is fully au fait with homes created by AC Lloyd since he lives in Oakley Grove 1A with his parents, David and Kerry, and brothers, Michael (24) and Callum (15).
He said: “We love living in our AC Lloyd home and I am enjoying working with people on the site because it is hands-on work.
“I thought I might be sweeping up but I am learning all about carpentry from more experienced colleagues which is a much better way to learn than sitting in a college all day.”
Shay, who lives in Whitnash, agreed that being an apprentice was a great insight into the world of work.
He said: “I have known Dan since primary school and we went to the same senior school and now we are working on the same housing development and going to college every Monday.
“I have always preferred practical learning rather than book learning – design and technology was one of my favourite subjects since it was practical.”
Steve Essex, health and safety officer at AC Lloyd Homes whose headquarters are in Tachbrook Park, Warwick, said apprentices are vital to the construction industry.
“It is great we are helping Dan and Shay to learn the carpentry skills they need at the start of what I hope will be a long career in the sector,” he said.
“AC Lloyd Homes is no different to any other property development business – we need apprentices coming through the industry and apprenticeships are a great way to encourage young people.
“I have been really pleased with the level of skill and dedication Dan and Shay have shown since they joined us.
“It can be daunting joining a site where around 80 people are working but they have fitted really well into the team and they are both learning important skills.”
Around 130 properties are being built at Oakley Grove 1B which are expected to be completed towards the end of 2020.