Trainee electrician Phillip Heather, a graduate of Kingdom Housing Association‘s Fife Works Construction Academy, has won Fife College’s apprentice of the year award in the Year 1 SVQ Electrical Installation.
At 29 years old, Phillip, from Leven, was the oldest person to participate in the construction academy.
But his exceptional level of enthusiasm was noticed by Campion Homes, which provided the trainees with work placements on projects in Dunfermline, Leven and Cupar, where Campion are providing affordable housing for Kingdom.
Campion were so impressed by Phillip that they offered him a formal apprenticeship as an electrician, which he started in August 2018. He has been studying at Fife College as part of the first year of his apprenticeship.
Phillip, who was very pleased to have been given the apprentice of the year award, said: “I had been trying to gain an apprenticeship for the past few years before I attended the Construction Academy. I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity that Fife Works and their partnership with Campion Homes has provided me with. It really has been life changing. To receive an apprenticeship award from the College was fantastic.”
Campion Homes is one of Kingdom’s main contractors and have been developing affordable housing for over 25 years. During this time, they have provided more than 1,000 new homes for Kingdom.
Over the last three years, Campion have also been developing their business, including the work they undertake to provide affordable housing and this has involved a high level of investment on the recruitment and training of local labour.
Campion currently directly employs nine apprentices across a range of trades, and also support their sub-contractors to participate in apprenticeship programmes. They are developing their workforce in partnership with Fife Works to cater for future skills shortages.
Dougie Herd, joint managing director with Campion, said: “We are delighted that Phillip has been recognised by the college as the apprentice of the year, it is very well deserved and is reflective of the attitude and willingness to learn that Phillip has demonstrated since he came to us as a Fife Works trainee. There is a real skills shortage in the construction industry and we are grateful to Fife Works for their assistance in developing our future years apprenticeship programme.”
Fife Works is Kingdom’s employment project and acts as the intermediary between employers and unemployed people who are seeking employment. Since it was formed in 2008, Fife Works has helped over 3000 people with training and employability services and Phillip was the 2000th person who Fife Works has helped into work.
Lynne Dunn, Kingdom’s Fife Works manager, congratulated Phillip on his award: “This is great news for Philip and Campion, and to build on the previous success of supporting people into employment and apprenticeships, we are pleased to announce that Fife Works will be running another Construction Academy in July to support the recruitment needs of existing and new affordable housing developments.”
Bill Banks, group chief executive with Kingdom, said: “It’s fantastic that Phillip has achieved this award, which highlights what can be achieved when someone demonstrates the level of commitment that Phillip has shown.”
Bill added: “There is increased work on sites which will contribute to the Scottish Government’s 50,000 new affordable homes targets. It is however important that we also deliver added value and community benefits. The collaboration between Kingdom and Campion, is a good example of what can be achieved, through delivering apprenticeships, which will have a long term positive impact for the construction sector.”