“ I really enjoy coming to work every day”
Ellie Revell, 22, seized upon the opportunity of a career as a brick layer and is currently hard at work on the 275 home housing development close to Manor Top, Sheffield. It is a vocation that she is flourishing in and feels right at home alongside experienced bricklayers developing the vital techniques needed to secure a long term future in the role.
“it’s a great bunch of people to work alongside and everyday is fun”
Ellie signed up to the Building Blocks Initiative. The scheme – run by Sheffield Council and funded by central government and the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board)- specialises in helping out of work young people onto a pathway towards employment in the construction industry. After enrolment, candidates complete a programme that results in CSCS accreditations, something that is vital for UK construction site employment.
“I am accomplished with building walls using different bonds and patterns”
The programme’s mentor is Matthew Hunter, owner and director of Barnsley Brickwork Ltd. Matthew provides help and guidance to the candidates as well as empowering them with industry contacts; vital for networking and connecting with firms looking to fill the skill shortage that affects the construction industry today.
The Building Blocks Initiative has a candidate conversion rate of 50% and introduces up to 10 young people per fortnight to the world of work, of which Ellie is one. She is the only female on the programme to date and was one of the Initiative’s first enrolees. The pivotal moment of her story came when she worked on-site for Barnsley Brickwork Ltd in April 2019. She left a lasting impression on the bricklaying teams during her fortnight on the ‘Manor Boot’ development in Sheffield, impressing with her ability and strong work ethic. So much so she was inundated with offers of full time apprentice roles.
“I couldn’t envisage doing anything other than laying bricks and blocks”
Ellie has never looked back. She is still plying her trade with the same bricklaying gang she impressed and her future aspirations include leading her own gang. She regards the construction industry as a long term career and key to fulfilling her life ambitions. Without the help of the many agencies involved in her development, Ellie may never have been given the chance to transcend gender boundaries and take up a career in an industry in which more and more women are taking the plunge.
Matthew Hunter is sure the scheme will be of long term benefit to the industry, especially if they can find a few more like Ellie Revell. “We hope that Ellie’s story isn’t a rarity but becomes the norm. The industry needs to realise there is a future onsite for young male and female workers to thrive”