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Thomas Smedley - Apprentice Bricklayer Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations

The Apprenticeship

Thomas started at Calderdale College in September 2016, with a troubled past and a history of disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

But thanks to a supportive learning environment he’s taken on an apprenticeship course where he discovered a real passion and has since inspired him to own his own business one day.

  Thomas says: “I’ve never enjoyed learning that much but over the last two years I have redone my maths and English. The Training Officers pushed and supported me to do this with revision sessions and lesson and I was helped with the books provided in classroom and support to complete diploma work.

“The Level 2 was great and I realised that through my apprenticeship I could earn money, build my way up the ladder, learn new skills and progress in the building trade.

“I’ve discovered that I really enjoy bricklaying and learning the skills I need, and I want to know how I can get better and improve all the time.”


John Wright, Construction Training Officer at Calderdale College said: “As soon as I started working with the bricklaying students Thomas was a learner that stood out due to his eagerness and attitude towards college work.

“I was shocked when I learnt that he had had a troubled past in school and when I read his educational plan, I thought it was a different Thomas Smedley because the report detailed behaviour which did not reflect the Thomas I had met.”

Previous tutors confirmed that when Tom started college, he was disruptive and didn’t enjoy coming to college but since taking on the bricklaying course there had been a positive change in his attitude at college.

“Over the last year of working with Thomas, he has continually improved in his attitude, work produced and his eagerness to complete to a high standard,” adds John. “He took work home with him and completed it within the given time scales and was always questioning me on how to improve his work.”

All of this hard work from Thomas helped him to complete his Level 2 apprenticeship early and he has now continued with the same great attitude on his L3 NVQ Diploma in Trowel Occupations.

Thomas says: “Learning how to set out and build has been amazing. I now want to carry on building, progress to get better and better in building and eventually one day open up my own business.

“My next goal is to hopefully go on to higher education, possibly a HNC in construction and then eventually do a degree.”

Apprenticeships and Calderdale College

Calderdale College is a major work-based learning provider, delivering high-quality training programmes in partnership with local and national companies.

The only college in West Yorkshire to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted for apprenticeships, the college delivers a range of qualifications, from Intermediate (Level 2) to Higher (Level 5), covering 25 different sectors, including Business, Construction and Digital Marketing.

On an annual basis we train over 500 apprentices and work with over 3,000 local and national employers, ranging from micro-businesses to some of the region’s largest levy-paying companies. We also help them to recruit apprentices to their workforce, matching hundreds of school and college leavers to apprenticeship vacancies.