Employer Focus: MC Builders

MC Builders is one of the South West’s leading independent construction companies offering a complete building service. The company has over 20 years’ experience working on major projects, such as Barratt Homes developments, throughout Devon and Cornwall. MC Builders prides itself on its personal service and high quality of work – and, as a result, enjoys many repeat customers and contracts. We caught up with Mark Cottingham, co-owner of the company, to find out more.

“Apprenticeships are vital to the industry and are now one of the only credible ways to enter the sector. One of the major benefits of apprenticeships is that the learner develops the company’s high standards and ways of working from the onset. Apprenticeships are mutually beneficial to the learner and the company. They provide the company with manpower and the chance to develop a qualified workforce, and in turn the learner gains experience and qualifications to help them advance in their career.

“Many of our apprentices first start working for us as labourers, and we then support them through an apprenticeship. One of the apprentices we employ through Skills Group, Rhys Crago, is a great model for other apprentices. Since starting here, his confidence has developed, he gets on with the job he’s given and is obviously good at the work that he’s doing. We’re looking forward to continuing to support Rhys throughout his apprenticeship.

“Once our apprentices finish their qualifications, we would ideally like to keep working with them as they will be familiar with the company and its practices. However, we also understand if they want to continue their career elsewhere to gain experience within other organisations.

“Skills Group has been great to work with and we would absolutely recommend the organisation to other employers. The team is friendly and helpful, and always provides information and guidance whenever we need it.

“When we hire apprentices, we look for a “can do” attitude, someone who is prepared to get stuck in and uses common sense. We are then able to teach them all the practical skills that they will need. It’s also important to get on well with the learner – you’ll be working with them everyday.”

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