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If you work in property renovation, would you hire a mature apprentice?

(20 Posts)
TR888 Tue 13-Aug-19 08:14:07


I’ve posted before about my husband being burnt out after 20+ years in social work. It’s got to the point where he’s on therapy just to be able to go to work and that simply has to stop. He wants to move away from social work altogether and do something completely different, ideally not office work. He’s great at DIY and he’s thinking he could perhaps learn a trade on the job, as an apprentice? He’d be ideally interested in learning about renovating period properties, although perhaps this is a very specific field and you need to be highly trained - does anybody know?

The problem is his age. He’s very conscious that at 47, building companies might not consider him and might favour young candidates instead. Also, the fact his CV is completely unrelated to any trade (despite having quite extensive DIY experience) might be offputting to employers.

Would you consider an apprentice like him? Any advice would be most welcome.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Tue 13-Aug-19 08:36:21

I'm not a builder. I'd imagine there will be someone willing to take him on as being a bit more of a grown-up. However, the pay rate for apprentices is £3.90p/h. Would that be workable for DH? After the first year, it goes up to minimum wage.

TR888 Tue 13-Aug-19 08:37:59

Thanks. I didn’t know the pay was so low. I’m on a good income so I suppose we could just manage, but I somehow assumed it’d be minimum wage from the start. I can see why not though.


OP’s posts: |
PinkOboe Tue 13-Aug-19 10:32:58

get him to look at some of the courses SPAB run.

senua Tue 13-Aug-19 11:02:52

I think that he needs to define what he wants. Why does he want an apprenticeship? Big employers might want the qualification that it brings but smaller employers won't be so fussed, they will be more interested in what he can/does do. They want time-served workers rather than bits of paper.
Also, has he looked forward? If he has already been working for 20+ years then he is no spring chicken. He might be better off trying to get second fix work rather than the heavy manual labour of first fix. Has he thought about the transition to desk work for when he gets even more decrepit.grin Lots of tradesmen are good at the job but hopeless at the organisation around it (there is a lot of scheduling, coordination and management in the building trade); if he can master that then he would be very useful to employers because it is when costs are controlled that money is made.

BuzzShitbagBobbly Tue 13-Aug-19 11:07:50

What about a more gentle slope to run in on.

Companies like B&Q are known for taking on older staff; and then places like screwfix also hire time-served people too. Although your husband's experience isn't directly relevant, he will have transferable soft skills. And the money will be a bit better than apprentice wages too.

That sort of route he'll pick up on the job knowledge and potentially even contacts for a next role.

optimisticpessimist01 Tue 13-Aug-19 11:13:18

Get him to look at doing a few courses, and applying for his CSCS card- that's a big tipping point for employers

Maybe post this on AIBU to get a bit more traffic? Might get someone with direct experience and knowledge on the area to comment.

Has he considered going self-employed? Do a few jobs at discount to build a portfolio up- social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin) is great for free marketing

If he's not bothered about going self-employed then its more about who you know than what, he needs to start e-mailing and ringing a few companies up and gauging a reaction from them. I would post this on AIBU to get more responses

AwkwardPaws27 Tue 13-Aug-19 12:06:52

Has he checked National Trust / English Heritage (presuming you are UK based) apprenticeships?

Tabitha005 Tue 13-Aug-19 16:42:26

My Dad is 65 and a master craftsman cabinet maker, has a logical mindset and loves problem-solving. He's found a job as a surveyor for a fitted furniture company - they design and install cabinetry for bedrooms, studies, TV/AV equipment.

Dad's job is to visit the clients - right after the salesperson has got the deposit for the job - and draw up the plans (he uses CAD software and works from home). He then highlights any issues such as areas that impinge or prevent cabinetry being built (power points, sloping ceilings, access problems), and works out a solution, getting the client's final sign off.

He loves it and doesn't have to do any heavy work. It can involve a lot of driving, but the company he works for pay his mileage. He's self-employed and gets paid weekly.

What about kitchen fitting? The company I'm currently working for have a contract with a large housing association to re-fit kitchens and bathrooms in empty properties prior to new tenants moving in. We employ quite a few kitchen fitters directly and also use agency staff in this respect. The hourly rates of pay seem quite good (£18-£22 and more for weekend work or overtime).

I'd say either of those approaches would be WAY less stressful than being a social worker.

PenguinsRabbits Tue 13-Aug-19 22:07:32

Not totally sure how you get into this but we have a thatched cottage and there's a shortage of thatchers. Its often 18 month waiting lists. Its a long training period and pay is low but its definitely period property. Depends where you live though.

wowfudge Tue 13-Aug-19 23:41:55

A commercial property management company could use his DIY skills and he'll have the interpersonal skills to deal with tenants to be a caretaker. He would probably need a related qualification. Where I used to work we employed several who each looked after various sites - bit of gardening, tidying, making sure everything was secure and dealing with small DIY type jobs. When there was a tenant emergency, they'd get called to a site to deal with things.

TR888 Wed 14-Aug-19 07:32:31

Thank you all. Lots of ideas to think about! The kitchen fitter idea sounds nice, as do a few of the other options you suggested.

I feel for him, his confidence has taken such a knock... I admit I struggle with the idea of him moving into minimum wage roles when he has a postgraduate qualification, but I know his mental health must come first.

OP’s posts: |
AwkwardPaws27 Wed 14-Aug-19 08:13:57

I struggle with the idea of him moving into minimum wage roles

Maybe try and think of it as him being paid to train - if he wanted to do a different masters degree to retrain, for example, he'd be paying out £10-15k instead.

Specialised tiling might be another option to consider - renovating and replacing Victorian tiled floors and paths, for example?

senua Wed 14-Aug-19 08:49:32

I struggle with the idea of him moving into minimum wage roles when he has a postgraduate qualification
Lots of people in the building trade are on poor wages but that's because they are poor workers who can't manage basics (like putting in a full 40 hour week! shock)
If your DH has anything about him, he will shine compared to some others and rise up the pecking order. Skilled reliable tradespeople can earn very good money.
The building trade is all about management: self-management and man-management.

Clankboing Wed 14-Aug-19 09:02:12

He could approach schools too to do site work. It's a job that is very social with all of the staff and students. Plus the work done is really appreciated.

Chimchar Wed 14-Aug-19 09:05:11

There's a guy local to me. He has built up a great business on Twitter as a handyman. He does any kind of job people ask him to windows, removing rubbish, putting together flat pack furniture, he made loads of bikes up at Christmas, puts up pictures and shelves, paints the outside of houses etc.

Maybe your dh could start something like that? So many people need little jobs doing that don't require a builder or specialist. Good luck to him.

Clankboing Wed 14-Aug-19 09:05:40

Also he could start with painting and decorating homes. I always like it when our painter comes. I feel comfortable because he is my age (late 40s) which I know is ageist, but still. I think the going rate is £150 a day.

JoJoSM2 Wed 14-Aug-19 09:32:47

Things like school care taking or maintenance jobs are unlikely to ever be well paid. But he could eventually get decent pay in the more specialist areas suggested. Like repairing or laying Victorian type tiles or maybe repairing cornicing or restoring original windows in listed properties etc.

TR888 Wed 14-Aug-19 11:04:28

Thanks, I really appreciate your answers, I’m very moved. It’s so hard seeing someone you love so ground down...

Btw, the poster who suggested looking into the National Trust opportunities - thanks, that would be a dream for him but there’s nothing in the website that's suitable or commutable. However, where we are (South Yorkshire) there are a few other grand properties which might have suitable vacancies.

Decorating is definitively a possibility, he’s great at that. As for the use of social media, that is something I could help him with (although I’m no expert!). As for the importance of organisation skills, that’s something I hadn’t thought about, but you’re right - he could have a competitive advantage over some other tradesmen that way. He also has brilliant interpersonal skills and comes across very well, so that hopefully counts too.

I feel a little more optimistic, thanks!

OP’s posts: |
wowfudge Wed 14-Aug-19 12:27:20

Good handymen and women are always in demand and booked up several months in advance. He only needs a couple of jobs he can promote himself on the back of via local Facebook pages, etc. Depends how confident he is to do this kind of thing on his own. He might find some voluntary work in a local community theatre group or similar a good way of getting some experience.

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