Employer Focus: PJB Building

PJB Building is a friendly and professional independent construction firm, offering a full building service for clients in Devon and Cornwall. With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, the team has worked on a huge range of projects including extensions, kitchen and bathroom refits, rendering, loft conversions and whole house refurbishments.

The company has many happy customers who would recommend the business, thanks to its high standard of work and personalised service. Reviews include “We are very pleased with everything. In short, first class communication, team and job” and “I have given PJB Building 5 stars. It’s just a pity I couldn’t have given them 6! A great job all round.”

We caught up with Pete Graham and John Lovejoy, co-owners of PJB Building, to find out more about how apprenticeships work for the business.

“We’ve been taking on apprentices for the past few years and have found they bring lots of benefits to the business. Not only do they provide manpower for jobs, but they also offer the opportunity to develop a future skilled workforce.

“Our apprentices are involved in the full range of work we carry out, so receive hands-on experience in everything from carpentry and bricklaying to painting and decorating. We work closely with our apprentices to ensure that they are completing the qualification that is the best match to their skills. We encourage our apprentices to complete both Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications to ensure they receive thorough training and have an excellent grounding to succeed in the industry.

“We currently employ Bailey as a bricklaying apprentice and he is doing brilliantly. Since he started with us, his confidence has grown, his attitude to work is excellent, and his hand skill development is coming on leaps and bounds.

“Skills Group is great to work with. The assessors are helpful and flexible in their approach. We let them know what Bailey is working on with us, so that they can continue his training in their facilities to consolidate his learning.

“Other building companies should put their fear aside and hire apprentices. We worked with another builder who employed apprentices and were really impressed with the work they were carrying out; it gave us the confidence to start hiring them ourselves and we will continue to do so in the future.”

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