The sky’s the limit for West Bridgford apprentice

Bildurn apprentices L to R Jay, Kye and Anton at Cobden Chambers

Nottingham property developer Bildurn Properties is putting its three apprentices at the heart of its plans for the future, investing more than £60,000 in their professional development.

As the UK this week marks its tenth National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), 21-year-old trades apprentice Jay Keating is about to complete the first year of his training with Bildurn, having already got stuck in to projects such as the development of Cobden Chambers and the renovation of the Gresham Hotel into apartments.

Jay joined Bildurn after completing his GCSEs at West Bridgford School and A Levels in Sociology, Communications and Culture and IT at High Pavement College. He said he knew from the age of 16 that the university route wasn’t for him and that he wanted to go straight to work when he finished college.

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Jay said: “I was working in construction for a year after I finished my A Levels, and then I found the apprenticeship with Bildurn. I knew from the start it was the perfect business for me, because from the word go the directors and managers have given me the opportunity to develop.

“For example, I quickly progressed from basic joinery to complex work such as using measuring tools, which is not the usual approach taken to training trades apprentices. At Bildurn, the team involves you in all aspects of a project, so even if you aren’t physically doing the task, you are learning and present when it is being done.

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“The sky really is the limit because I could take a management path once I’ve completed my qualifications, by progressing through professional qualifications such as with the Chartered Institute of Building, or I could hone in on a specific discipline such as structural engineering. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who has the slightest doubt about what to do once they finish school – because you’re immediately on a career path, without a great debt and with the chance to develop and learn new and practical skills each and every day.”

Jay is one of three apprentices in which Bildurn invested a year ago, training them four days a week on site while they spend one day a week at NCN. The business pays them three times the average salary for an apprentice because the directors want them to stay with the business and feel valued.

Head of Projects and Construction at Bildurn, Mike Tuck, is a passionate advocate of apprenticeships, having taken the same route into the industry himself.

He said: “I think apprenticeships are the future for the construction and property sectors, because the skills shortage is not going away. We committed to developing our three apprentices into multi-skilled operatives from the moment they started working for Bildurn because we want them to see a career with us.

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“Bildurn is different to many other developers in that we both develop and invest in properties. We’re offering our apprentices the chance to have the broadest possible experiences of the sector, which involves a wider understanding of the future of the business.

“Ultimately, we want to bring as much of the trades work as possible in house, so that the Bildurn team can take on a neglected building and transform it completely without drafting in any external trades people. Our apprentices will play a vital role in bringing that goal to life and there’s nothing to say that one of these three lads won’t one day be a director of the business.”

Bildurn, which employs a team of 11, is well known for its Nottingham developments such as the iconic Lace Market Square and the quirky Cobden Chambers as well as the Pod, one of the most eye-catching and visually unusual buildings in Nottingham city centre.