Mansfield house builder has vision for apprentices

Debbie Cartwright and Emily Wilson at Rippon Homes.
Debbie Cartwright and Emily Wilson at Rippon Homes.

Mansfield-based Rippon Homes has been building houses for more than 70 years.

And even though the company is steeped in tradition, it is certainly no stranger to moving with the times and investing in new talent through apprentices.

Currently, the company has four apprentices in brickwork, joinery and plastering roles working on its developments at The Larches at Bilsthorpe, as well as in Chesterfield and Welton, near Lincoln. They will also join planned developments in Tibshelf and Skegby.

Debbie Cartwright, Rippon wages controller, said: “We take on new apprentices each year and our link with Vision West Nottinghamshire College works very well indeed.

“My own son began with Rippon as an apprentice joiner five years ago and has since progressed to assistant site foreman.

“We pride ourselves in giving people the chance to develop and move forward with their careers.

“We know how well apprentices work for the business and we’ve been privileged to see so many of them excel over the years.”

Debbie and her colleagues insist one of the major business benefits of employing apprentices is being able to nurture and train them to a high standard, while also benefitting from the trainees’ own ideas and initiative.

And it is not just on the building site where apprentices are making progress in their field.

Debbie, who has been with the company more than 13 years, said: “We’ve started employing apprentices at the office headquarters and our current receptionist Emily Wilson is getting along great, having just completed her apprenticeship with flying colours.”

Over the last year Emily, aged 20, from Mansfield, has studied the NVQ level two customer Ssrvice apprenticeship, both in the workplace and through the college.

She has now taken a full-time position with Rippon and says “deciding not to go to university was a good decision.”

Emily, who began her apprenticeship last year after discovering the vacancy online through Vision Apprentices, said: “I’d completed my A-Levels at school and then went to West Notts College to do an art diploma.

“After this I began applying for jobs.

“I knew university wasn’t for me and it was while I was job-hunting I saw the apprenticeship being advertised by Vision Apprentices.

“I decided my best route was to secure the qualifications I needed and progress in a job by combining work and training.

“It’s been the best decision.

“Even though I was put pretty much in at the deep end on the reception desk, I learnt quickly and got to know so much about the business.

“My job is really varied; I get involved in everything from answering the telephone, putting posters together, maintaining databases, writing letters to customers, and I recently spent time in the sales team too.”

Debbie has seen plenty of changes in Emily over the last 12 months.

She said: “Emily has matured and developed in her outlook and her skills.

“Working on reception, she’s learnt so many different aspects of the business – enabling her to see where her strengths lie for the future.

“She’s a versatile individual and does well in each task she applies herself to. “It’s a big transition coming from school or college into the world of work, and I believe it’s the job of a business to nurture and train an apprentice.

“We empathise with apprentices, knowing they don’t have much experience – so it’s our job to provide the skills and motivation.”

Rippon, which recently moved to its headquarters from Mansfield Woodhouse to Ransom Wood Business Park, Mansfield, has worked with the college and Vision Apprentices for several years and recruits at least one apprentice per year.

Debbie said: “Apprentices aren’t about employing cheap labour; they’re about investing in new talent and creating opportunities for the individual and the business.

“We’ve found the fresh insights and new ways of working our apprentices bring to be so refreshing, and Emily is no exception.

“We’re delighted to have now taken her on permanently and as much as she’s learnt while training on her programme, she’s taught us a lot too.”

* Your Chad has teamed up with West Nottinghamshire College and its recruitment arm Vision Apprentices to urge employers in Mansfield and Ashfield to take on an apprentice.

Our Vision for Jobs campaign aims to give more people the chance to gain the skills for a successful career while helping businesses build their future workforce.

If you think apprenticeships could benefit your business, call Vision Apprentices on 0800 121 8317 or email info@visionapprentices.co.uk