APPRENTICES, graduate trainees and rising stars from Barratt Homes in the south are on a mission to encourage more people to work in the construction industry.

A range of construction and office-based staff from Barratt Southampton have joined the Construction Ambassador Programme and will be visiting schools and colleges in the area to highlight opportunities in a wide range of jobs.

Barratt community liaison manager Anthony Dimmick said already around 25 per cent of staff at Barratt Southampton are under the age of 27 and plans are in hand to recruit even more apprentices, graduates and trainees in the future.

He said: “Inspiring the next generation of housebuilders is a priority for Barratt nationally so now is a great time to be talking to children of all ages.

“Barratt Southampton already has a team dedicated to promoting excellence among younger members of staff and this latest initiative is an extension to the work Aspire does in the company and wider community.”

Among the new Construction Ambassadors is 16 year old Katherine Colley who works with Barratt as an apprentice carpenter.

Anthony said: “She was so determined that she completed her Construction Skills Test, the entry requirement for an apprenticeship, at just 14 years old. She will now be heading into schools to talk about her job and her route into the industry.”

Ambassadors also include successful apprentice Paul Ebbs who began his career with Barratt as an apprentice at the age of 16. Seven years later he reached the position of site manager where he led a £20million regeneration development of 237 homes in Eastleigh before becoming a contracts manager.

Paul has excelled at every stage of his career so far, winning numerous company awards, achieving NVQ, BTEC, HNC and degree level qualifications in construction, and in recent years he has also acted as a mentor to young apprentices joining the company.

The ambassadors have been appointed at a crucial time in the construction industry.

The Construction Industry Training Board which runs the programme nationally says the industry has lost 350,000 employees since 2008 and now requires 182,000 additional construction jobs from 2014-2018 as output starts to increase beyond just the housing sector.

Barratt has already committed to recruiting 1,100 graduates, apprentices and trainees nationally in the next three years. More details can be found on the careers website