An apprentice bricklayer from East London has said that his practical training and his apprenticeship have helped him to transform himself from a reserved teenager to a confident worker.

Charlie Gilbody is now working as an apprentice bricklayer on the Higgins Construction and East Thames housing development site at Grove Farm, having gained his NVQ Level 3 in bricklaying a year ago.

The 18-year-old said that it had been a real struggle to find work and that, if this apprenticeship had not taken him on, he would be sitting at home, playing computer games while trying to apply for jobs.

“As well as giving me the knowledge I’ve needed [the company has] given me plenty of support and encouragement. I’ve learned to be more open and more confident and now I can speak to anyone,” he told the Barking and Dagenham Post.

Charlie added that the job has given him a renewed sense of motivation and purpose in his career and he is building his ambitions. He explained, “Now I have a full-time job I want to push on a bit, become a foreman in 10 years time maximum.”

Charlie is not the only apprentice working on the East Thames housing development. Grove Farm is the site of 104 new flats and homes and is one of a number of projects in the East Thames region that is actively providing opportunities to people who are looking to start their careers in construction.