Clarkston apprentice is a rock-solid bet for future

(L-R) Margaret Key from CITB; Ingeus's Anthony Phillip; Graeme Frame from CBC; apprentice stonemason Connor Prentice; and CBC Managing Director James McAlpine
(L-R) Margaret Key from CITB; Ingeus's Anthony Phillip; Graeme Frame from CBC; apprentice stonemason Connor Prentice; and CBC Managing Director James McAlpine

Aptly named apprentice, Connor Prentice, has his new stonemasonry trade down to a fine art having almost completed work on iconic gallery GoMA, Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.

As work draws to a close on the year-long renovation of the landmark building gracing Royal Exchange Square, the 19 year-old from Clarkston is the picture of happiness having being employed by construction firm CBC following a year out of work.

Connor always dreamt of a career in the building trade and was supported in his search for work by training and employment specialists Ingeus in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Ingeus works with unemployed jobseekers to equip them with the skills and confidence they need to find lasting work.

After helping Connor to develop a comprehensive CV and polish his interview technique, Ingeus advised Connor that locally renowned construction firm CBC had approached CITB searching for an apprentice stonemason to work within their specialist CBC Stone division, and Connor’s dream soon became a reality.

“After leaving school, I struggled to find permanent work, especially in a trade where I could learn new skills and develop a life-long career,” said Connor who left Williamwood High School with a raft of Highers. “It was very disheartening not hearing back from job applications but Ingeus helped build my confidence and motivation and in just a few weeks this fantastic CBC opportunity came along. The apprenticeship is everything I hoped it would be and more, being able to work on such a historic building has been a real privilege.”

Glasgow-based CBC, the trading name for Central Building Contractors Ltd, is a privately owned, family run construction company established in 1971. CBC Stone Director Graeme Frame said: “Apprentices play a vital part in us ensuring that very specialist stonemasonry skills are passed on for the future. We specialise in restoration and conversation and pride ourselves on directly employing our own tradesmen. Apprentices are actively involved with complex and high profile jobs where possible and Connor has done some excellent work at GoMA, befitting the beautiful building and its contents. CITB, working with Ingeus, has given us access to quality applicants and we will certainly be working with them again as future apprenticeship opportunities arise.”

GoMA is Scotland’s most visited modern art gallery and was built as a townhouse in 1778. Graeme concluded: “Our work here is drawing to a close and it’s wonderful that our efforts, and those of a young talent like Connor, will preserve this beautiful landmark for many years to come.”

Connor is in the first of a four year apprenticeship with CBC, combining on-site learning with classroom based studies at the City of Glasgow College. He will be supported and assessed throughout his apprenticeship by Margaret Key, Apprenticeships Officer at CITB.

Margaret said: “Connor is a real star and before going to Ingeus was a classic example of the talented young people out there just waiting for the right opportunity to shine. At CITB we work with employers to make sure our apprentices get the skills they need for the future and we work with learners to make sure they add value to a business. As a result of Connor’s success, we are now working with Ingeus to recruit further unemployed young people for construction apprenticeship opportunities.”

Ingeus delivers the government’s Work Programme across Scotland, working with employers and partners to source employment and training opportunities for thousands of unemployed jobseekers. It operates from a network of 12 Scottish branches, including Glasgow.