Apprenticeship is foundation for Thomas’ career in housebuilding

An apprenticeship starting at the age of 16 has helped Persimmon Homes site manager Thomas Straughan lay the foundations of his career in construction.

Thomas began his CITB apprenticeship with Persimmon Homes North East when he left college in 2004, and has earned a series of promotions that have seen him come “off the tools” and become a site manager, currently working at Brunton Meadows in Newcastle Great Park.

“When I started as an apprentice bricklayer straight from college in Ashington I never expected I would find myself promoted to site manager, though to others on site it probably didn’t come as a surprise,” said Thomas.

“From the time I started until I qualified and was promoted to foreman, assistant manager and now site manager, I have always taken my responsibilities seriously and have been prepared to step up.”

“I think an apprenticeship is the best way of learning a trade and experiencing life on site gives you the experience and essential knowledge you need as a manager.”

Thomas, 32, of Rowlands Gill, added: “I remember being called into the office by Chris Curry, who is now director in charge, but was then construction director, and he offered me the opportunity to come off the tools as an assistant site manager.”

“It made me think and it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it has certainly worked out. Although there have been ups and downs along the way I feel comfortable in my role now, and I still believe you learn every day.”

Chris Curry, director in charge of Persimmon Homes North East who coincidentally began his career with Persimmon Homes through a YTS placement, added: “Thomas’ work history is an excellent example of how a career can progress from an apprenticeship. I remember seeing Thomas at his first interview and he always stood out and has been a proactive and engaged member of the team wherever he is working.”

“We believe in investing in our workforce and hope that young people coming into the industry can really develop a career with us knowing that we will give them the time and training they need to succeed.”