2020 has been a challenging time for everyone in the UK, with changes to how we work and live. In response, London Borough of Barnet (LBB) approached the pandemic as a ‘call to action’, and immediately engaged with businesses in the Borough. While the country was going into lockdown, LBB was securing partnerships with companies across the construction industry to ensure opportunities for its residents could continue despite the pandemic. One Barnet resident supported by LBB was 21-year-old Adam Phillips.
Adam Phillips is engaged within the construction industry as a level 6 Project Manager and Civil Engineer apprentice. Coming to the end of Adam’s apprenticeship, with only a couple months left, COVID-19 hit the construction industry by storm, making Adam furloughed. It became uncertain when or if his employer would be able to bring him back to work, which was essential for him to finish his apprenticeship and NVQ. It soon became clear that he would not be brought back from furlough and Adam was unable to return to work, or to his studies, leaving him unsure about his immediate future. The last two years of working towards a career in construction was overshadowed, with the real possibility he may not attain the qualification.
In an effort, London Borough of Barnet (LBB) launched an emergency meeting, hosting professionals from every industry, to continue apprenticeship placements in and around London. Adam requested to take apart within the meeting, to stress the effects of COVID-19 and implications it is having to the apprenticeship sector.
One company LBB has partnered with is VolkerFitzpatrick, the construction contractor delivering the new Brent Cross Thameslink station, which is part of the larger Brent Cross regeneration scheme.
The station, which will be finished in 2022, will serve local residents, with better access to the rail network, and a link bridge that will enable people to cross east to west instead of having to travel around the A5 north to A406 or south via Cricklewood station.
On 30 July 2020, VolkerFitzpatrick attended a ‘getting back to work’ event, organised and hosted by LBB, that was aimed at connecting Barnet residents with businesses. On this day, members of VolkerFitzpatrick were introduced to Adam. On meeting Adam, the team immediately recognised his commitment, and his presentation on the day brought to light how resilient young people are and how important it is to invest in their future. VolkerFitzpatrick immediately wanted to help, but realising they did not have a current position for Adam, they turned to one of their key partners – Fourway - which is also delivering essential work on Brent Cross station.
Unfortunately, Adam contracted COVID-19 while starting his new company at Fourway and was unable to continue. But fortunately, Adam and his family have now recovered. Adam was put into contact with Henry construction and is now working as a project manager. He is due to finish his qualification within a couple of months.
“I am grateful for the amount of support myself and fellow apprentices are receiving though the difficult times by the London Brough of Barnet, and to the construction industry. Their efforts are fully felt by me and other apprentices. I am grateful to be able to complete my qualification not far from the original date. A big thank you to Calvin at VolkerFitzpatrick, Cali from Barnet council and James at Evolve Apprenticeship”.