A report by the Construction Skills Network estimates that the UK construction industry needs to employ an additional 217,000 workers by 2025 to meet the nation’s building demands. However, to ensure there are the workforces available to fulfil this need, doesn’t there have to be a greater drive towards encouraging people into the sector to ensure they have a career for life? Sontay, smart sensor provider for the built environment, is doing just that, providing apprentices and graduates with opportunities to take their careers to the next level.


Cultivating new workforces


As a business Sontay is committed to fostering and forging the construction and HVAC workforces of tomorrow. We place great emphasis on developing the skillsets of our apprentices and graduates, enabling them to have professional experiences that equip them with the abilities to lead long-lasting careers in construction. What’s more, our recruits are gaining precious experience and mentorship from members of staff who are true experts in their field; important lessons that they wouldn’t gain anywhere else.


In return, we get access to some of the brightest young minds in the industry and proudly get to watch them grow. This sense of pride is truly fulfilling, especially for businesses such as Sontay that have a close, family feel.


To enable us to achieve this, it’s key for us to make the development of apprentices and graduates central to our vision and something that we routinely implement and execute. “Sontay takes on graduates and apprentices on a regular basis,” says Mark Newton Sontay’s Managing Director. “Our young people are our future and investing in them can only bring very good things.”


Apprentices have been called the lifeblood of the construction industry. According to government data, in 2021 there were over 713,000 active all-age apprenticeships in England alone, with a further 37,000 in Scotland and over 100,000 in Wales. What’s more, government research published back in 2018 uncovered a very encouraging statistic – that 65% of apprentices (of a total of 844) in the study remained in full-time employment after finishing their apprenticeship. Together, these statistics showcase the number and value of apprentices, and the schemes’ ability to curb the nationwide skills shortage in the construction industry.


Kickstarting a career as an apprentice


Apprentices are generally recognised as providing young people with the skills and first-hand experience to have a successful career in construction. Not only can a construction company fine tune a person to the intricate rhythms of its business, but apprenticeships also create important security in an ever-changing job market.


These were attractive benefits to James Barber, Sontay’s first ever apprentice who passed his Apprenticeship NVQ in February during National Apprentice Week.


James joined Sontay a few years ago in 2019 and has been working closely with Tony Day, Sontay’s Technical Support Manager. James has been specialising in technical engineering where he answers queries from customers on a daily basis and helps the purchasing team with ongoing projects. “Reflecting on my apprenticeship, the experience was incredible, allowing me to learn new skills and be hands-on all whilst studying,” says James. “The construction and HVAC sectors are so interesting, with new technology evolving our product solutions,” he continues. “I’ve been able to, and continue to, learn and grow so much at Sontay.”


Now he has completed his NVQ James will continue his professional development in the business by going on to complete Quality Assurance training and sales.


Moving on up in graduate sales


Sontay’s graduate sales managers are another core part of our workforce. Each year for the past few years we’ve taken on two graduates to develop their skills in sales. Our graduate sales managers are in the fabric of our business and play a crucial role in getting our products where they need to be and developing relationships with new and existing customers.


Last year we welcomed Tristan Landi and Yousef Waheed to Sontay. Since this period Tristan and Yousef have been inspirational, working tirelessly to ensure our customers are happy. With both of them settled in the business, very recently, we’ve appointed two new graduate sales managers, Ryan Kidd and Chris Carson. Ryan and Chris each bring a new energy to Sontay and we can’t wait to see them flourish!


With the construction industry facing a huge skills shortage and an ageing workforce, the only solution is to encourage the next generation of workers into the industry. Not only will this approach make for a more diverse and vibrant sector generally, it will ensure each and every business is prepared for the future. As a business that is focused on providing apprentice and graduate programme opportunities, Sontay is playing a part in closing the gaping chasm caused by the skills shortage and ensuring young people have lifelong careers in construction.