Teenage apprentice chases career in construction

Published:  23 January, 2014

A teenage apprentice who sent out 1,500 job applications while unemployed told Kris Hopkins MP, Minister for Housing, how he hopes he has a job for life in construction.

Liam McMahon, 18, was unemployed for nearly two years before he began his apprenticeship with one of Keepmoat’s subcontractors, A and G Construction. The teenager is one of three apprentices employed solely to work on Arran Rise, Keepmoat’s 55-home development in Corby.

The Arran Rise development was part funded by the Get Britain Building programme introduced by the Coalition government in 2011. The £500 million government initiative aims to unlock locally backed stalled sites with planning permission and deliver up to 12,000 new homes.

Mr McMahon, who left Bishop Stopford High School at 16, said: “I probably sent over 1,500 applications during the 18 months I was out of work. I left school without many qualifications and was told that I didn’t have the experience I needed to get a full-time role.

“This opportunity has given me a trade and I hope I will never be out of work again. I don’t know what I want to do in 10 years’ time, but I know that once I finish my apprenticeship, I’ll have the skills I need to get a job in the construction industry.”

Mr McMahon is currently studying for his NVQ Level 2 in carpentry, was given an apprenticeship and has been working on Keepmoat's development off Willow Brook Road for three months.

Mr Hopkins said: “If we’re going to get the economy going we need new homes, and we need capable and enthusiastic young apprentices like Liam to get them built.”

Mr McMahon and Mr Hopkins were joined at Arran Rise by Tom Purgslove, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Corby.

Keepmoat chief executive officer Dave Sheridan said: “As a company we have seen the real difference that the Get Britain Building initiative and Help to Buy are having on the housing market. Help to Buy is boosting demand for high-quality new homes and creating more new jobs like Liam's, while Get Britain Building is helping to increase the supply of new homes.

“So far, half the homes sold on Arran Rise have been bought using Help to Buy and as we specialise in high-quality, entry-level houses, we are seeing a greater uptake from Help to Buy purchasers.

“As a company Keepmoat is committed to creating job opportunities for young people in Britain and this is proven by the fact that more than 20% of our 2,900-strong workforce is apprentices. However, our business isn’t just about building houses and creating jobs; it is also about regenerating urban areas and helping people acquire skills and learn a trade that will keep them employed for their entire lifetime.

“We admire Liam for his persistence during his long hunt to find the right career, and are pleased that he is getting the first start of his career on a Keepmoat development.”