Female construction apprentice flourishes with “best career move” to housebuilder

Charlie Devlin (Belway)

A 29-year-old Trainee Assistant Site Manager from Livingston says joining residential housebuilder Bellway Homes was the best career move she ever made after being named runner-up in the national housebuilder’s Apprentice of the Year Awards.

Charlie Devlin, who works for Bellway’s Scotland East division, was one of just four apprentices from across the country to be honoured in this year’s awards.

She previously worked in the outdoor industry as an instructor, but decided to make the switch to construction, embarking on an apprenticeship with Bellway in 2022.

Charlie said: “Everyone on site has been incredibly supportive and I am so grateful for all the time people have invested in helping me throughout this journey.

“I’ve learnt so many transferrable skills and there are so many opportunities to explore here at Bellway. It’s the best career move I’ve ever made.

“As with everything, there have been ups and downs – particularly as this is a completely new industry to the one I was working in before. But, I’m very driven and determined to learn as much as I can, and Bellway have done everything to support this.”

Charlie has been working at the divisional head office for the last seven months. She recently moved to the Carrington View development, Midlothian. As part of her apprenticeship, she also spends one day a week studying at West Lothian College, doing an HNC in Construction Management and is completing a SVQ Level 3 in Construction Management.

“I’m still scoping out the industry as a whole” she added. “But, I love the time I spend on site – both the Site Manager and Assistant Site Manager have embraced my enthusiasm and helped me flourish. 

“No two days are the same here on site, which is great – my days are very varied and never boring. I’m much more of a ‘hands-on’ learner as I am dyslexic, and the team here have fully supported that. They are always giving me new things to do, and it has helped me discover which avenue I want to explore further.”

Charlie has a two-year-old daughter and appreciates the flexibility provided by the staff on site in allowing her to work around her family commitments.

Charlie, who is due to complete her apprenticeship work by June 2024, says she has thrived as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated sector, adding: “I worked in a male-dominated industry before, so it’s nothing new to me. In fact, it’s like having 50 big brothers on site!” 

But she says perceptions of the industry are changing and that young people shouldn’t let their gender define their future career.

“Gender doesn’t limit you in terms of career – anyone can do anything. Life is too short to spend it thinking ‘what if’ – if something makes you happy, you’ve got to pursue it.”

Laura Bell, Bellway Group Senior Organisational Development Manager, said: “At Bellway, we are committed to being an employer of choice. It’s important to us that we have different options for people at varying stages of their careers. 

“Charlie is an asset to the Scotland East division. She has adapted well to several different tasks and I’m certain she will go on to flourish in whatever she chooses to do next. It’s great that her efforts have been recognised in the Apprentice of the Year award. On behalf of Bellway, I’d like to congratulate Charlie on this outstanding achievement which is thoroughly deserved.”

For more information about career opportunities with Bellway, visit https://www.bellwaycareers.co.uk/

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