County Durham-based building and roofing specialist, Hodgson Sayers, has smashed its goal of having 10% of its workforce made up of apprentices, following nine new appointments.
Seven of the new starts, aged between 17 and 20, will be completing three-year apprenticeships to develop skills in their designated fields of slating, tiling, flat roofing or metalwork fabrication at Newcastle College, while the remaining two will be studying bricklaying at New College Durham.
Of Hodgson Sayers’ 100-strong workforce, 16 are now apprentices.
One of the new batch, Emilio Parker, from Stockton, in particular, has impressed the firm with his determination, having around nine miles from Gateshead to the Stanley office in the rain to make sure he got his chance to be interviewed.
Hodgson Sayers managing director John Sayers said: “We were impressed with the eagerness of all nine apprentices to learn and ask questions in the interviews and were certainly impressed with the steely determination shown by Emilio.
“Having realised he had run out of money when travelling to our office, instead of turning back when he reached Gateshead, he walked in the rain to Stanley to get to his interview. Youngsters can get a bad press but Emilio has showcased to us his desire to be given a chance.
“We helped him out on the return leg of his journey and we look forward to seeing his career flourish with us.
“As a company we take great pride in ensuring that the workforce of the future has the necessary skills to be able to take the company forward.
“The Contracts Managers started their careers as apprentices so they have the best skills and expertise to guide the new starters.”
Emilio said: “On the way to my interview I realised I had run out of money. I had two options - turn back when I reached Gateshead or to walk to Stanley.
“Thankfully, I had Google maps on my phone and I was determined to make it.
“The walk was three hours and it poured with rain and, unfortunately, I was a little bit late. I was still allowed my chance and the company kindly paid my return journey back to Silksworth.”
Having already gained a Level 1 apprenticeship in construction from New College Durham, Emilio is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in bricklaying.
“It’s great to get a step onto the career ladder and learn a solid skillset,” he said.
“The team have made me feel at home and I like working alongside the other lads as we are all starting off at the same level and can discuss our progress.”
Established in 1979, Hodgson Sayers - originally Hodgson & Allon - began life primarily as a roofing contractor.
Over the years, however, it has diversified considerably to include building works, fencing and metalwork fabrication.