BLOG: My apprenticeship empowers me to do something different | Wates

Sarah Stockley accepted a temporary warehouse role whilst seeking her apprenticeship at Wates and was soon offered an exciting opportunity to join the Residential team as a Demolition Operative Apprentice.

Bexley-born, Sarah worked in a range of temporary contract roles in sectors including retail and fast food catering before joining the Arthur Street team. Following a bereavement in the family, she started to lose sight of her future career path and began to travel in the wrong direction.

Fortunately, this sparked a realisation that she needed to break away from her current situation and she found herself a role as an Au Pair in Italy. Returning to the UK six months later, Sarah had a much clearer sense of direction and knew that she wanted to pursue a career working outside, on her feet and working with her hands.

What does your role involve?

“My day starts at 8am and finishes at 4.30pm. I am still learning on the job and am currently getting experience in soft-stripping. This means removing all of the internal fixtures and fittings from the building, including kitchens, pipes, carpets and soft furnishings.

“Once items have been removed they need to be organised and placed into the correct recycling containers, ensuring that health and safety is adhered to at all times. I still have a lot to learn and can’t wait to start my training on the plant equipment during full demolition.

“I didn’t think I would progress as quickly as I have and feel truly grateful for the opportunity. Erith has invested a lot of time and patience in supporting my career journey, including sharing their immense knowledge and providing me with additional training to achieve my Certificate of Competence for Demolition Operatives (CCDO) in addition to asbestos awareness, manual handling and abrasive wheel certificates. I feel privileged to be benefiting from the team’s professionalism and experience and can only hope to achieve the same standards as they do.

What do you like about your job?

“I love my job, it’s great to be able to do something different every day. I enjoy working as part of a big team and the physical side, even though it’s hard work at times. Everyone on site has been great with me and it has really changed my perception about women being able to work on construction site. Before I started I was preparing for the worst, but I have been treated with nothing but respect.

“I now look forward to getting up and going to work every day and am so happy to have been given this opportunity. This has the best thing I have ever done, and I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to others.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

“Still in construction, working my way up through the ranks. I can see my myself getting into demolition management. What I do know is that in 10 years’ time I will be extremely physically fit!”

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