Employer Focus: Hallwell Projects

Hallwell Projects is a successful independent construction firm, primarily contracted to Plymouth Community Homes (PCH). The firm, which offers a full construction service, has grown massively since it first opened its doors and now employs 28 workers, including 7 apprentices. The company prides itself on its high standards, and as a result, has gained an excellent reputation throughout Plymouth and enjoys repeat customers – both with PCH and for private jobs.

We had a chat with Hallwell Projects’ Director, Lee Cruse, to find out more.

“I started out in this industry as an apprentice so have a good understanding of the value they can add to a business and also the advantages for the learner.

“As a contractor, it is vital we work to the high standards our customers expect so that we continue to receive repeat contracts. This includes meeting Health & Safety requirements and carrying out risk assessments, to behaving respectfully on-site with no bad language and leaving the sites in a clean and organised state. Our apprentices are trained to meet these exacting standards.

“We encourage our apprentices to get involved in all aspects of the services we offer, from bricklaying to carpentry and plastering, so that they develop wide-ranging experience. We also support them through both Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications so that they gain all the essential knowledge and skills needed to excel in this industry. After investing so much into our apprentices’ training, we ideally would like to keep them on, using their expertise within our business.

“We have a great relationship with Skills Group – the team only puts forward apprentices who will fit in well with our organisation. We will continue to employ apprentices through the company. We like to stagger hiring our apprentices so that those who have been here for a while can help to train the new starters; this helps to reinforce their learning.

“My advice to other companies thinking of hiring an apprentice would be to treat them fairly but also make sure you are in charge at all times; this means that they will respect you. Having an apprentice is an investment that definitely pays off – you create a skilled and qualified team that is loyal to the company.”

I always struggled in school as I wasn’t very academic, so knew learning on the job would be a better option for me. I would find it difficult to get up for 9am but now I wake up and look forward to my day. I wanted to try a hair apprenticeship as I’ve always been interested in hairdressing, and by the end of the first week, I already loved it!

Jaimee Benson, Level 2 Hairdressing

I have developed a range of new skills through work including the technical, industry skills required for the job, to personal development such as ensuring I am always on time. The biggest change since leaving school is adjusting to the independence you gain from earning a salary. My advice to anyone thinking of doing an apprenticeship would be find what you like doing, and go for it!

Will Birch, Level 2 Bricklaying

Since starting the apprenticeship, I’ve become far more confident. In a classroom, you only interact with your classmates, but through working you develop your people skills as you interact with customers on a daily basis. At school, you are closely monitored and parented, however I am now more independent and feel grown up

Sam Collard, Level 2 Light Vehicle and Maintenance Repair

The most important thing I’ve learnt since leaving school is that there are other routes to success than just academia. I failed my GCSEs, as I never suited the school environment. Now though, I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as I’ve discovered I learn more through hands-on practice.

Ben Freeman, Level 2 Carpentry

I would just like to thank you and your team for all the amazing work they do, you have provided me with the most invaluable experience which has helped to pave the way of my future. The work you do for young people is incredible!

Luke Kowalski, Teaching Assistant and former apprentice at Sir Robert Gefferys School