Estelle Palmer is an apprentice groundworker with Kier Living. Here, Estelle explains why she has opted for a career in housebuilding.

“I’m really enjoying my time as an apprentice groundworker at Kier Living’s Oakbrook development which is creating 2,3,4 and 5-bedroom homes in the commuter village of Marston Green in the West Midlands.  

When I was at school I didn’t really enjoy any subject. I certainly didn’t know anything about the built environment until I went to college where I spent a year learning about Building Information Modelling (BIM) and at this point I realised I wanted to know more.

The college was undergoing an extension at the time. I was curious as to the way the building was being constructed, what materials were being used, the time taken and the how the different tradespeople played a part. It really was a fascinating time and at this point I decided I didn’t want to be at a distance any longer, I wanted to be involved.

I went to Salutem, a company that offers construction apprenticeship training through CITB, IOSH and NEBOSH, for three weeks where they taught me the basics of being a groundworker, put me through the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) test and it’s also here that I learnt about Kier and the apprenticeships that they offered.

Immediately, I applied to be an apprentice groundworker at Kier Living. My application was accepted, and I am now nearly six months in to my two-year apprenticeship. I spend four days on site and one day at college, this mix works well for me and now that I am motivated and focussed, I find the time at college much more interesting – I know it is helping me progress.

Not only am I learning a lot, but it has already boosted my confidence enormously by working with like-minded people. You also have to work as a team – I have to be and want to be reliable and I also understand the value of communication, you have to talk to colleagues, problem solve together, succeed together. It’s a skill I problem didn’t value enough until taking this position.

I love working outdoors and two days are never the same – be it the types of work you are carrying out, the weather, the people you are working with, it makes every day exciting. 

My current aim is to complete my NVQ Level 2 and then get the necessary certificates to use site machinery. When I have more site experience I may look at working in other areas of Civil Engineering – I feel confident enough to say I have plans and I want to progress my career.

The built environment is fast paced, fun and fascinating, I am learning so much and there is no feeling like it when a house is completed.

I would absolutely recommend this industry to anyone struggling to decide what to do as a career. There is a huge demand for new housing across the country, opportunities are ripe, and you can enter the industry in various ways, from apprenticeships to university and many other ways. I may only be six months in, but this industry already feels like home.”