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Business & Economy

Young team’s skills tested at the ‘highest’ level

Led by 21-year-old Alex Atkinson, who has recently completed an apprenticeship in flat roofing at Newcastle College, the trio took on the challenge under the watchful eye of Colin Howey, one of a number of highly experienced contract managers that began their careers at the firm as apprentices.

Colin Howey, said: “Our apprentices are at an excellent standard. That is why when it came to tasking a team to carry out the work at St Helen’s Primary School I was very confident in assigning the full project to what many would class as a young team.

“This was a very challenging task for Alex to lead but there was no doubt in my mind that the work would be carried out to the highest quality standard and to the timescale required. Joining Alex was 23-year-old joiner, Craig Taylor and first year apprentice, David Bilverstone.

“The project involved a new roofing system as well as extensive repairs to both the high level and low level roofs.  The low level roof required guttering all the way around the perimeter and the team boxed out the void to the roof to get rid of the internal pipework before installing fascia boards and a new external rainwater pipe system.

“Alex and his team also implemented all health and safety policy procedures before the work commenced, which is very detailed.”

Such is its commitment to the training of its people that Hodgson Sayers won the apprenticeship category in the 2015 North East Business Awards and then went on to win the People Development and Company of the Year Awards at the British Chamber of Commerce Awards.

Alex Atkinson, said: “I really enjoyed leading the team at St Helen’s Primary School. I was initially slightly daunted by the responsibility of not just completing the live project but all of the administration, for example, completing the health and safety forms and risk assessments.

“As soon as we started the project everything ran smoothly and I can only credit my team. I would like to thank the company for having the confidence in us to take this on and deliver on time and to the highest of standards. Sometimes you have to be placed in the deep end and simply swim, that is the true test – we all passed.”

Established in 1979, Hodgson Sayers operates in the construction sector offering specialist skills in roofing, building works, fencing, metalwork fabrication and security products.

Colin Howey, added: “Like our managing director, John Sayers, the majority of the contracts managers have been apprentices and know the importance of working independently on live projects. The confidence that this installs in our young people is priceless. Each of our apprentices is mentored and at the end of their placement they are guaranteed a job with the company.

“Young people often get a hard time but we have a hungry team who are steadily learning a solid trade. They will be the face of the construction sector going forward. We must nurture them correctly and this year we have signed up all our apprentices to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as it is important that companies in the sector all play their part in supporting North East training bodies and to ensure young people gain the very best support.”