Thursday 11 February 2021

Didcot apprentices build for the future

Men in high vis jackets outside new homes

A group of Oxfordshire apprentices are continuing their training on site after adapting to the new ways of working required during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our trainees based at the Great Western Park development in Didcot usually spend most of their time learning practical skills at the on-site academy, where they can learn directly from skilled tradespeople. As part of a holistic approach created alongside training providers and local colleges, they also focus on developing personal skills relating to communication, appreciation of customer care and satisfaction.

This all changed in April 2020 when we took the national decision to close sites and sales offices in order to limit the spread of Covid-19. The Didcot-based apprentices, who specialise in either bricklaying, carpentry or plumbing had to quickly learn new skills as their training went online.

Keith Rickets, Master Craftsman for Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire, said: “We were really keen to keep our apprentices engaged with training from early on in the lockdown. We wanted them to keep up with their theory but also keep in contact with them, provide structure to their days and keep reassuring them that their training was continuing, despite the challenging environment.

“We quickly started using video sessions and I was able to hold demonstrations using scale models that I’d built at home.”