Bridging the skills gap with on-the-job training: Spotlight on Lewis Golding

30th November 2017

Management Apprenticeships are one of the best opportunities for businesses to identify future management talent and to bridge the ever-widening skills gap. Supporting and encouraging young people into the industry is vital for our future success and Apprenticeships including practical on the job skills, learning and invaluable experience, are becoming ever more important to us The O’Keefe Group are strong supporters of such schemes and many past apprentices are still working within our business in senior roles.

Our latest management apprenticeship, Lewis Golding, has been with the business for almost 6 months. After an initial period on site he is currently working with the Kent pre-construction team at Cricketts Farm.

The O’Keefe Community team caught up with him to find out how he’s getting

What were your first impressions of the business?

The company’s great and the culture, too. The people are also friendly and helpful and the variety of jobs makes it an interesting place to learn about the industry and business.

Give us a brief rundown of your career to-date with the company?

I started with O’Keefe after spending a year with Kier Construction as an apprentice Site Manager. I first started off at Benenden Hospital with the O’Keefe Group as an Apprentice Project Manager. I then got moved around from site to site to strengthen my knowledge of groundworks. I am now based at Cricketts Farm learning the craft of estimating.

How does the management apprenticeship scheme work?

Essentially, it is a two-year course, combining college based assignments and an NVQ which you must complete whilst working. Once you pass the course you receive a gold Advanced Craft CSCS Card. This can open so many doors such as HND/HNC or staying with the company if they want to employ you to continue learning new skills

What attracted you to the construction sector?

I first started working in construction when I was 8 years old with my Dad and Uncle helping build extensions, laying driveways, slabbing and general groundworks. Groundworks has always interested me because every job is different, and every job requires problem solving which require solid skills, training and experience. I then started my apprenticeship with Kier Southern as an apprentice Site Manager but found it wasn’t the right fit for me, so my host company TRAC, offered me an interview with the O’Keefe Group and they took me on and gave me a chance.

Did it match your expectations?

Yes, it did! I was shocked at how different it is to private jobs and the size and scale was overwhelming. It has taken some time to adjust and I still am, but, with the continuing support from my colleagues around the business and the Management team, I am finding my feet and working towards something that I really enjoy.

Are you enjoying the variety of roles within the Group, so far?

I am pleased to say that I have really enjoyed all the roles that I’ve worked in during my time so far within the business and hopefully there will be many more to discover but for now I am happy learning the craft of estimating.

Was it easy to get onto the scheme?

It wasn’t at all. I found it a real challenge. After an interview with BAM and Baxall Construction, I finally landed an opening with Kier. Whilst this was interesting the environment wasn’t quite right for me, however, now that I am here I’m enjoying every minute.

Can you describe your training?

A large part of the training comes from being on the job and from also working alongside colleagues. If you’re in college your tutor coaches you through some of the theory but being on-site and working on the job is where you get to learn the most. I believe that it’s the best way to learn and build your career.

Do you see Management Apprenticeship’s as positive schemes?

I see them as positive schemes. The emphasis is on real experience and on the job training which I think is more invaluable than academic learning. Every company now wants their staff to have experience and that’s why these schemes are perfect for equipping professionals with the right skills to deliver.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I’m not too sure at this point. I am just enjoying experiencing different areas of the business and once I find something that I really enjoy, possibly within Groundworks, I will progress my career in that direction