Having attended another college studying Bricklaying as a full-time student, Jake was successful in obtaining a Bricklaying apprenticeship with William Davis Ltd. At the time, they were moving their apprentice provision to Leicester College which Jake was disappointment about as the College is significantly further for him to travel. It was now double the distance and to add insult to injury, he now has to pay for parking as this was free at his previous college.

Jake is a very social individual and he had made many friends at his previous college all of whom were due to continue their studies there the following year. This all brought significant challenges for Jake, as he also needed to get used to me as his new tutor. From experience, I know that this is challenging enough due to the high standards and expectations I place on all my learners. Jake also had to settle into a very diverse new group of learners, none from the area where he lives and the majority were younger and less mature. All of this while trying to get used to getting up earlier, travelling on unfamiliar roads to College and fitting in to feel comfortable. From Jake's perspective, coming to Leicester College must have been a daunting experience as its large College with a highly diverse student population than Jake’s previous College.

All this considered, it was understandable there was some initial apprehension, anxiety, disappointment and lack of motivation. However, Jake accepted this was his employer’s choice and as it was part and parcel of the career path he had chosen. So he accepted the situation and soon got his head down and started to maximise the opportunity William Davis had given him.

Once settled after a few weeks, Jake soon began to show his potential at College and show himself to be both studious and hardworking. At the same time, he developed a very good reputation in the workplace with his apprentice master Dave King and with the bricklayers he was being asked to work with.

Throughout his time at College, Jake has shown a real positive attitude to all aspects of his apprenticeship. Both his practical and theory coursework is always completed to the highest standard and he is making great progress with his NVQ. He is the most productive of his group when generating 'evidence of work' and uses his initiative to complete work without the need for his assessor to set him specific targets. On the occasions where he has to meet certain criteria, he always meets the set target.

His competence and standing in the workplace are highly credible. For example, in his second year, he was doing advanced aspects of bricklaying generating evidence for the Level 3 NVQ while still only registered for and working to complete the Level 2.

Over the period of his apprenticeship, Jake has developed a reputation for being an easy going, polite, conscientious and hardworking individual who has excellent communication skills and who people find easy and enjoyable to work with. During the latter stages of his time in College Jake served as an influential ‘Buddy’ for one of his peers and contributed significantly to his development. He works very closely with this individual when doing both theory and practical work and has helped raise his standards greatly through the process of internal competition and striving to match Jakes standards. By being a great role model to his peers, Jake is leading by example and helping others at the College to raise their aspirations.

In addition to this, Jake mentored our younger SkillBuild competitors this year and helped them with their progress and development by sharing his learning. As a tutor, I know that Jake’s guidance was a contributing factor in our new entrant competitors achieving second place at our regional heat.

SkillBuild is an annual National Skills Competition run by the Construction Industry Training Board its focus is to raise standards and recognise excellence in construction skills. 13 regional heats cover England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and there are New Entrant and Senior categories. The top 8 scores Nationally are invited to participate in the SkillBuild National Final held as part of the Skill Shows at the NEC in Birmingham.

As a reward for all his hard work and the progress he made in his personal and professional development, I entered Jake for the Senior category of the East Midlands Regional SkillBuild heat this June. Despite not competing previously, Jake demonstrated he had what it takes to compete at this level using all the advice, guidance and learning he had been given over the period of his apprenticeship to compete at the Regional level. Not only did he win his region, but his score was the third highest nationally. This was a tremendous effort and one which got him an invite to this year’s SkillBuild National Final in November.

For his achievements, Jake was nominated for the Leicester College Bricklaying Apprentice of the Year Award which he won.

Despite all his achievements, Jake is a very grounded individual who still lacks a little in confidence in some ways. Winning this Award would be the icing on the cake for Jake despite what might happen at the National Final in November. This Award would recognise the journey he has made in terms of skills development, professional development, peer, tutor and employer recognition and respect.

Jake is highly thought of by all at the College and in his workplace. Recently we have been notified that Jake is being honoured with an Outstanding Endeavour Award at the William Davis Ltd Apprentice Awards Event on 23rd November 2017 which further demonstrates the achievement he has made at work.

Leicester College

More than 22,000 learners study with Leicester College, located close to the city centre in the county of Leicestershire. They have around 1,600 apprentices and offer training to thousands of local and national companies.

The apprenticeship at William Davis Homes was exactly what I was looking for; I could ‘earn and learn’ and I’ve been really happy with my chosen career