We're passionate about building houses of exceptional quality, but we can't do it without a highly-skilled and motivated team.
With the construction industry facing rising costs, global supply shortages and a lack of skilled workers, it's a challenging time.
Our drive to attract and retain the best staff is therefore more important than ever.
So how do we do that?
Meet Ellie Jamieson, our Apprentice Estimator.
Ellie (21) joined the company's Commercial team in 2019, armed with a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Construction Management from Perth College. She has since gained a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Quantity Surveying from Dundee and Angus College and currently working towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Estimating. Despite unavoidable delays due to Covid-19, Ellie is still on track to complete this by the end of the year, after which she will become the Assistant Buyer, with scope to progress further in the years ahead.
So what's a typical day for Ellie?
"Every day, I check the orders sent from the different site managers and complete them or pass them onto our Buyer, Martin Soreide. I also complete take-offs, which quantify the materials needed for the houses, the groundworks and so on. I also speak with suppliers almost daily and, even though I pass on pricing queries to Martin,I still get the opportunity to make strong working relationships with most suppliers."
So what does she enjoy most?
As an Apprentice, Ellie earns while she learns.
"I love learning on the job and building my knowledge daily. I feel I've grown so much in three years and enjoy coming to work knowing I have much more to learn. Sometimes it's challenging not having the same experience as some of my colleagues but, thankfully, everyone is very patient and supports me with any questions I ask."
And her advice to others contemplating an Apprenticeship instead of university?
"As a young person coming into an industry with little to no experience, an apprenticeship is the best way to get in the door. I get the opportunity to work alongside and learn from people who have over 20 years of industry experience, which gives me a better insight not just into how things are done now but how things have previously worked, so I have a much better understanding of how the industry has adapted with the times. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn in a real working environment, which has allowed me to engage with people from different specialisms and backgrounds. Because I chose this route instead of university, I now have three years of experience in a job I wanted to do from a young age, which is just brilliant!"
And that all-important final question … what next?
"I hope I become as experienced as some of our longest-standing staff members and continue to play a role in building great quality houses! I plan to continue my learning even after finishing my apprenticeship. With the rapidly changing nature of the construction industry, there's never a dull moment! This motivates me to continue expanding my knowledge working within the industry, hopefully, for many years to come."
Echoing Ellie's comments, Ron Sutherland, our Operations and Compliance Manager, added, "The construction industry is a fast-moving and diverse industry with many occupational routes. When applying for any courses or apprenticeships, experience and enthusiasm are key. It definitely helps to highlight any previous experience and show you have a genuine interest in construction. This could be a part-time job, volunteering or even working on your own DIY projects in your spare time - anything that shows that you are an individual who is self-motivated, enthusiastic about the industry and willing to learn."
To stay informed about upcoming vacancies or apprenticeships at Stephen, please follow our social media pages and keep an eye on our website https://stephen.co.uk/
Additional useful contacts:
Skills Development Scotland, for details of all available Modern Apprenticeship Qualifications and their framework