Firm paves the way for older apprentices

A Shropshire construction firm is urging more employers to follow its lead and take on older apprentices as a solution to filling the industry’s skills gap. 

Pave Aways, which currently has 14 apprentices and trainees in its team, has several older apprentices who have been attracted by the opportunity to learn while they earn. 

Zoe Booth (pictured), who is 40, and 31 year-old Lloyd Hart both began working at Pave Aways last year as apprentice carpenters, along with college leaver Max Williams, 17. The firm also took on the firm’s ever apprentice site manager, 18-year-old Oli Roberts. 

Training Manager Michelle Benjamin said: “For a company like us, taking on apprentices is really important because we want the next generation of construction workers to have the skills they need. 

“There is a skills shortage in construction so it’s important that all companies play their part. Attracting older apprentices could be the way forward for many businesses. 

“We’re keen to dispel the myth that apprenticeships are just for school leavers. It’s a very practical way for older people to learn and pursue a career they really want and as more mature people they bring a different dimension to the role.” 

Lloyd moved into construction after working abroad in the ski industry. He said: “It’s a great way to earn while you learn. There’s a lot of different areas you can get involved in. Every day’s a new day and you’re always learning. It’s never really dull!” 

Zoe, who previously worked in retail and as a carer, said she could recommend taking on an apprenticeship: “It’s never too late in life to have a change of career and follow your dreams.” 

Pave Aways is a member of the 5% Club, a national movement committed to investing in new talent, and runs an annual apprentice programme that begins each September.

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