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Build Skills Plus

Build Skills Plus

Build Skills Plus is a centre for trainee and apprentice bricklayers which aims to get young people into full time apprenticeships that will lead to a career in the building trade.

Mark Burgess explains how there is currently a significant skill shortage in bricklaying and that many other training courses he has come across were not necessarily leading to employment. A bricklayer himself, Mark began lecturing and teaching NVQs a few years ago and decided that there was a need for a work based learning centre that actively sought to get trainee bricklayers into employment.

The centre is an extraordinary place that houses a large training area for practical bricklaying as well as a study centre for assessment in maths, English and health & safety courses which are essential for becoming an apprentice in the trade. Build Skills Plus is a relatively new organisation with its first apprentice signing up in March 2014. However it has quickly established itself as a trusted educational facility and has been nominated for awards alongside other nationally acclaimed organisations in its first year.

Mark talks about the business with real passion and is very proud of what it has already achieved. “The fact that we can make a difference to people’s lives and get them a career makes all the hard work worthwhile,” he says.  The biggest challenge that the business faced when starting up was the amount of regulations and standards that it had to pass through before Mark could even begin to start recruiting. With heaps of paperwork and constant assessment of standards and due diligence, Mark finds that there is never a quiet moment. “Although running your own business means you never stop dealing with issues, it is balanced by the independence you get and the empowerment you find in being able to make your own decisions.”

Mark explains that having a trusted accountant and business partner is very important for him.

“Having someone to take care of your book-keeping and wages takes away some of the pressure and frees you up to focus on other demands you have,” he says. “David does above and beyond really, giving me advice and guidance on my business and pointing out important aspects that I would never have known. It would be too difficult to manage everything on my own and it’s good to know that the financial side of the business is being taken care of, giving me valuable time back to achieve the things I set out to do.”