Friday, January 28, 2022
HomeRural YouthInitiativesJames carves out a joinery business

James carves out a joinery business

SOUTH West College Level 3 Bench Joinery apprentice James Little, from Newmills, pictured right, successfully carved out his own exporting business in the intricate trade of bespoke joinery thanks to broad range of high-quality joinery skills and qualifications the college provided at a young age. Now an experienced craftsman, James describes the apprenticeship route as invaluable and is grateful for all the incredible career opportunities that have come his way.

James was an early starter and completed his first joinery training via a pre-16 educational training course in Occupational Studies at South West College.

This entry-level trade route allowed him to explore and develop his practical skillset in Construction Site and Bench Joinery whilst still at school. It turned out to be the ideal route for James as there were no exams. Instead, he was assessed through doing, which he preferred. James flourished in the more practical environment and enjoyed learning for work through work whilst gaining his qualifications.

After experiencing first-hand what a potential career would be like, James eagerly made a fluid transition to an apprenticeship Level 2 Bench Joinery trade course at South West College.

The industry recommended training route was perfect for James; he enjoyed his craft and benefitted from the chance to experience work four days a week with theory one day a week, culminating in an industry-recognised qualification.

He said: “I was able to develop my practical skillset and learn on an apprenticeship training programme with employment at D&G Woodcraft, where I gained valuable joinery skills building cabins.”

This experience was vital and gave James the specialist knowledge and courage to set up a small business, A&J Woodworks, crafting customised model farms by hand and selling them at shows.

Determined and with a willingness to learn more, James progressed to Level 3 Bench Joinery at South West College while continuing his apprenticeship employment at D&G Woodcraft, a leading supplier and manufacturer of high-quality garden sheds in Dungannon. The mix of quality work experience and learning at a higher level honed his skills and springboarded his career, enabling him to successfully build upon his business A&J Woodworks and expand into exporting Greenhouses throughout the UK.

James attributes his early career success to the apprenticeship route at South West College and says launching his own business would not have been possible without it. For anyone considering an apprenticeship, James encourages them to go for it. He firmly believes it is a great way to explore and develop your skills whilst getting your foot on the career ladder at a young age. He says: “What I would say about the apprenticeship pathway is work hard and try to get as much work experience as possible to test out your career interests.”

In the future, James hopes to build upon his business and work at it full-time. Supported by the Department for the Economy, South West College offers a wide range of apprenticeships ranging from Level 1 – Level 6 within various fields and specialisms. To find out more and apply, please visit www.swc.ac.uk

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