Ten Stories: Introducing Graduates from our Plymouth Academy, Sherford

Ten stories to represent a decade of Building Heroes

Steve Ricketts, our Plymouth Centre Coordinator, at the Sherford Skills Onsite Training Centre, recently reached out to a group of his graduates to find out more about their success stories after completing a Building Heroes programme. We were thrilled to hear about so many positive outcomes that we wanted to share these with you for month three of our ten stories for ten years, to underline the impact Building Heroes has on our Armed Forces community and industry!

Matt Simms

Since Matt left the Building Heroes programme, he has verbally accepted a sub-agent role with Milestone infrastructure and is going to be working on road maintenance. To kick off his new career, he will be working with a team to improve a bridge structure on the A382 in Newton Abbot.

Matt said "Thank you to Danny and Leigh for helping me out. I've told every service leaver I've met about how great the course is!"

Will Peters

Following a 32 year career in the Royal Navy, Will attended the Building Heroes Course at Sherford Skills Onsite Training Centre in Sep/Oct 2022.

Throughout the course, Will was given wide exposure and unprecedented access to a range of different opportunities in the construction sector, benefitting from expert advice from a number of local and national representatives as well as careers advice from the National Careers Service.

On completion of the course he immediately put to use his new found skills on some DIY projects at home, including extensive plastering and decorating jobs. He found that he really enjoyed the sense of achievement from completing new projects that he would previously never had the confidence to attempt. Will increased his knowledge further through extensive research on the internet and reading apprenticeship course textbooks. This led him to starting his handyman business which has flourished.

Will said "I have already completed a range of projects including a bathroom refurbishment, rendering, plastering, fence construction, basic plumbing and decorating. I have also built from scratch a new en suite bathroom in an upstairs room in my home. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity Building Heroes provided me. Our exceptional instructor Danny taught the subjects meticulously, providing constructive feedback in a friendly and honest manner.

And as a graduate of the Building Heroes programme I am now able to benefit from trade discount at major DIY stores. I would encourage anyone wishing to improve their knowledge of the construction sector or even just bolster their own DIY skills to apply for a Building Heroes course. There are so many opportunities for accessing rewarding employment in this sector and I am now considering furthering my skills by applying for an ELCAS funded diploma in plumbing skills.”

Jay Genner

Following Jay's completion of the Building Heroes programme, and discharge from the Royal Navy, Jay went straight into Princess yachts as a carpenter, and lasted five weeks before leaving as it was like working in a factory and he didn't feel satisfied from his work. From there Jay started a multi trade job on Social and MOD housing where he put everything he learnt from the Building Heroes course to the test.

Jay said: "I did this for four months before going self employed. I am now a carpenter on building sites. Gaining my CSCS card from your course helped me massively here. I have been a carpenter on building sites for six months now but now I am expanding my knowledge further and starting a plumbing apprenticeship next week."

Sean Parnell

Since Sean left the Building Heroes programme, he had planned to semi-retire and has been doing some part-time handyman work, but his work load has grown arms and legs! He is currently doing some property maintenance and also part-time work for a local builder, so he is making good use of the skills that he learnt from Danny on the course!

Alex Watson

Alex Watson is still employed by the Royal Marines, but he has been accepted for a work placement with Taylor Wimpey in Exeter following his discharge date.

Alex said: "This is huge for me and will hopefully lead to invaluable insight and experience within the construction industry hopefully leading to a job offer on completion (big hopes). This all transpired from meeting Emma Hopkins on the BH course in Sep-Oct 23."

Furthermore, Alex has been utilising his new skills and accreditation to go ‘on the tools’ as an unpaid labourer. This has been a good insight for Alex to test if it was a viable career option given his complex PTSD and acute heating loss. Safe to say he was fine and it was enjoyable and he can't wait to start his new role!

Lee Fraser

After completing the Building Heroes Programme, Lee was able to secure a full-time job as a Trainee Assistant Site Manager with Barratt Homes.

Lee said: "Building Heroes assisted with a ground level basic knowledge of construction and I also gained a CSCS qualification which was essential for the job criteria application. Building Heroes gave me the basic skills and understanding required to get a foot in the door. Steve Ricketts was very helpful in mentoring me and organising tradesman from the Sherford Development to carry out talks and meet and greets, which helped with networking and answering any questions we had."

Lee shared that the course was very valuable and he highly recommends the Building Heroes Course.

Connor Bowers-Lee

Following the completion of the course, Connor was inspired to pursue further training as a carpenter. This choice set him on a trajectory through various roles within the construction industry, enriching his skill set across a multitude of trades. These skills proved invaluable, not only in personal projects, where he renovated his property, but also as he stepped into the world of property management, becoming a landlord after re-mortgaging and letting out his first home. The journey didn’t stop there; he soon acquired another property to renovate.

Connor said: "A pivotal moment in my career was securing a coveted position in timber framing with a leading house building company, a role that is both challenging and financially rewarding. Despite the success, my ambition drove me to take a bold step further."

Recently, he took the leap to establish his own business, Homefront Maintenance. This new venture involved setting up a website, investing in branded uniforms, and creating social media profiles to effectively market my services. Connor is proud to share that his business has now been endorsed by a prestigious letting and estate agency, providing him with a consistent stream of work.

Connor continues: "My journey from educational training to running a successful business in the construction and property maintenance sector stands as a testament to the solid foundation and support provided by Building Heroes. The skills, confidence, and encouragement I received have been pivotal to my success."

We would love to be able to support you in your next steps, too. Get in touch!

Find out more
View our courses and get in touch