Former tigers trainee cailean graham proving to be a 

Why? Well it was myself who inducted Cailean at the Carillion Training Centre in November 2014. Cailean Graham was the biggest personality in the room. He was engaging, eager to learn and never shy to ask what many other apprentices would have considered to have been a silly question. When you are an Apprentice there are no silly questions!

Cailean, an 18-year-old from Bishopbriggs and a former pupil of Turnbull High, spent his first couple of months within the Training Centre learning the skills and knowledge to undertake the role of a General Construction Operative. A GCO, as it is commonly known as, is what many would consider to be a Groundworker. This includes duties such as setting out lines and levels, laying modular paving and pouring and finishing of concrete. I thought at the time Cailean, although very capable at carrying out these tasks, would be better suited to a technical role within construction, attention to detail being his biggest attribute, brought me to this conclusion.

Cailean’s first taste of being on site came whilst out on work placement with Advance Construction Scotland. A great opportunity which unfortunately came to an end when there was a lack of work on site. The next site selection for Cailean was what I would call the ‘game changer’! We were approached by the Project Manager of the Carillion RSNO Project, Campbell Adamson, asking if we had any Carillion Apprentices who were capable General Operatives, had a great personality and were computer literate. It may seem like an odd combination but Campbell had plans for this particular operative to also be involved in back office duties. These duties included compiling induction paperwork, preparing equipment necessary for induction delivery and also inputting Don’t Walk By’s (hazard reporting card) onto the Carillion system. Needless to say Cailean fitted the role perfectly.

The feedback from the Carillion staff regarding Cailean’s performance was great, but it was another employer, Veitchi Interiors, who were taking note of Cailean’s performance. Cailean had been asked to support the Veitchi team, requested by Ronnie Szczotka to carry out snagging duties on the back of some joiner finishing. As always with his attention to detail Cailean did not take this task lightly (anyone who has carried out snagging will tell you it’s not the most exciting task) and carried out the snagging to a high standard. This was the opportunity to impress an employer and Cailean grabbed it with both hands.

Ronnie having worked on site with Cailean for a number of weeks now, seen potential in him and suggested he hand in his CV to Veitchi Interiors, Managing Director, Donald Turner. Cailean gave his CV to Ronnie but after missing an opportunity to meet Donald on site, thought any opportunity had been lost. This was not to the case. Donald contacted Cailean and offered him the opportunity to sit in front of him and tell him why he felt he was the right person for the role of office assistant with an opportunity to progress further which he eventually gained. I can’t go into detail as to what was discussed at the interview, needless to say it went great. Well at least the interview did anyway! After coming out of the interview Cailean was sitting in the office when Managing Director Colin Kennedy, asked Cailean “Tell me something about yourself?” Instead of Cailean replying that he was from Bishopbriggs or that he was 18 years old, he replied “I have an unhealthy obsession for Doctor Who!” No surprises that there were some shocked faces around the room. What this did was break the ice and set the ground for some future Doctor Who jokes.

Cailean is relishing in his new job role where he is involved in pre-contract estimating, with material, take offs, preparation of estimate files use of the CRM system, and using the “Plan swift” application to name but a few. Cailean has also been involved in site visits, working on projects such as the Golden Jubilee project where his duties ranged from site administrator to general labour.

Cailean, who has now been working for Veitchi Interiors for 10 months, has been rewarded for his hard work and commitment by being given the opportunity to undertake a ‘Built Environment’ course at City of Glasgow College in September of this year for which on successful completion will lead on to a Quantity Surveying course. A fantastic opportunity to take on a role so desperately lacking in numbers in the construction industry.

I spoke with Veitchi Interiors Business Development Manager, Derek McIlreavy. The first word he used when asked about Cailean was “proud”, funny, that’s the first word I would use too. Derek went on to say how he had fitted in well with the team, taking everything in his stride and saying no to nothing; another great attribute for any Trainee/Apprentices to have. Derek mentioned that he is excited for Cailean, stating that on the completion of his degree that the “door is now open to the rest of the world”. He said that this is an exciting time for Veitchi Interiors too. Seeing Cailean come through the process and the potential he has, has now led Veitchi Interiors to believe in repeating the process in the future; great news for those young people out there eager to gain an opportunity within a lead construction firm.

When I asked Derek if he had any advice for an employer out there looking to bring young people into their business, he had two simple things to say, “Encourage the young person to do well” and “Never step on their dreams”, wise words.