Young apprentices follow in family footsteps at Sutcliffe Construction

Skipton-based construction company Sutcliffe Construction is a big fan of the generation game. The family-owned firm has recently employed three new apprentices who are following in their dad’s, grandad’s and uncle’s footsteps to pursue careers in construction.

Charles Glover 17 and Rory Smith, 19 have joined as apprentice estimators and recently started day release training at Leeds College of Building. Joshua Stobbart, 17 is a fabrication and welding apprentice enrolled at Keighley College.

James Sutcliffe, managing director, Sutcliffe Construction, said: “Construction is a great career and being part of growing construction company offers lots of opportunities for bright young men and women. As an industry it’s perfect for apprenticeships because to be highly skilled you need to start with the basics and work your way up and you can earn while you learn. Sutcliffe is growing fast and we are increasingly attracting multi-million pound projects as we extend our reputation for building smart and adding value across the north of England and Midlands, but we are a family firm first and foremost and that is one of our strengths.”

Charles has joined his grandad Malcolm Beresford at Sutcliffe’s headquarters in Hellifield. Malcolm has worked at Sutcliffe since 2001 as an estimator and is now training both his grandson and apprentice Rory Smith – whose uncle is Sutcliffe’s construction director, Sam Allen.

Malcolm Beresford said: “Estimating is a very critical part of the construction business which has changed a lot in the past 20 years. It’s a great experience passing on my skills to Charles and I’m enjoying working with him – he’s a perfect gent in the office.”

Charles, whose father has also worked at Sutcliffe, shadowed his grandad for a week before deciding to join the firm. He has chosen to pursue  a 3-year apprenticeship with day-release study at Leeds College of Building in Construction and the Built Environment and leading to an HND – rather than complete A-levels and apply for university. “I’ve always had an interest in construction but working in the office is very different to doing the manual side. I thought it would be easy working with grandad, but he’s a real expert and doesn’t cut me any slack at all.”

Apprentice estimator Rory Smith joined Sutcliffe after A-levels and is also pursuing an HND. “I think it’s a great career to have because there will always be construction projects needing good people who know how to do it right.”

Apprentice steel fabricator and welder, Joshua Stobbart works with his father Damian in Sutcliffe’s in-house steel fabrication plant making steel frames for factories and warehouses. Joshua said, “My dad’s a good manager – he’s confident in the way he explains things and he is very patient, just like at home really.”

Damian has worked for Sutcliffe for 23 years as a specialist fabricator. He said he’s enjoying passing on key skills to his son who has always shown an interest in his job. Damian said; “The main skills are interpreting technical drawings, machining, cutting, grinding and welding. Despite technology, there’s still a lot of skill required and Joshua is keen, always asks questions and is turning out very well. Sutcliffe has always made us feel like we’re part of a family and being able to work with my son is just great.”

Family-owned Sutcliffe Construction is enjoying a growth period with contract values up by over 20 per cent in 2016/17 over 2015/16. The company, which recently completed the prestigious Alexander’s restaurant and bar in Skipton as well as an office development for TGE Investments in Leeds,  has increased its workforce from 21 to 31 since 2010. It is actively recruiting new staff and has recently hired an Architectural Technologist to join its 10-strong office team.