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CR Smith apprentices on a construction site

Celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week


Celebrating apprenticeships is a family affair

Following in their dad’s footsteps, twins Ryan and Dylan Risk are set to become time-served joiners after their apprenticeships. Having worked at CR Smith since 1996, dad Andy had no hesitation in encouraging them to take up an apprenticeship with CR Smith. As far as he is concerned, “they landed on their feet. It has been a big commitment, but I’m really pleased at the way they have stuck at it.”

Andy Risk has had a full career as a joiner and working with CR Smith and thoroughly enjoys his job as one of the firm’s leading installers of conservatories, sunrooms and open plan living spaces. “Being a joiner has been good for me,” he said. “I enjoy my job. Every day there is something different, something challenging to make you think about what you are doing, and it is always very satisfying to see the finished installation.”

CR Smith apprentices
CR Smith apprentice on a construction site
CR Smith apprentice working on a construction site
CR Smith apprentices on a construction site

Dylan and Ryan Risk, CR Smith apprentices

The apprentices

For Ryan and Dylan, their four year apprenticeship has provided them with the right foundation to build a career.

“Being an apprentice, and going to college and working, means you are taught properly. The course can be quite challenging, but you learn more skills. Dad is also a great teacher,” said Ryan.

This was echoed by Dylan, who said that having a great teacher and a great tutor at college made a difference. “It is a really in-depth course and can be hard at times, but having an apprenticeship is a great start to a career. I’d recommend it. It gives you something to work towards.”

For both, the satisfaction of working on site also played a big part. Ryan said, “I’ve worked on some very large projects, such as the 120 square metre conservatory at Malin Court, which is definitely one of the highlights.”

“Being able to stand back and look and be impressed with what you’ve done is great thing,” added Dylan.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’ve been supported throughout,” concluded Ryan, “CR Smith is a good company to work for. It’s always busy and everyone is happy to support you.”

The CR Smith apprenticeship programme has been tailored specially to meet company standards and combines the certified Modern Apprenticeship in Site Carpentry and Joinery, and bespoke company modules on customer service, teamwork and product specific skills. Working closely with Fife College, CR Smith has created a programme that maximises time in the classroom and on site.

Internal view of a 120sqm conservatory build by the cr smith commercial team for malin court residential home
Internal view of a 120sqm conservatory build by the cr smith commercial team for malin court residential home
External view of a 120sqm conservatory build by the cr smith commercial team for malin court residential home

120 sqm conservatory constructed by CR Smith. Malin Court, Turnberry.

The CR Smith commitment

CR Smith has long been committed to training new joiners, supporting apprentices of all ages, as standards of workmanship are extremely important. CR Smith has been fitting replacement windows, doors and extending homes for almost 50 years.

Ian Macfarlane is the managing director of CR Smith. He said, “Apprenticeships have always been a fundamental part of our philosophy at CR Smith. Not only does this provide a rewarding career path for the individuals, but it also contributes significantly to the company’s infrastructure of skilled tradespeople who understand our brand values.” 

As well as establishing its own apprenticeship programme, last year CR Smith partnered with Fife College to launch its brand new adult apprenticeship, which is a bespoke accredited joinery programme for those who fell outside the traditional apprenticeship criteria.

The trainee joiners are learning and developing both the technical knowledge and skills required for a future career and further training within joinery. The adult apprentices, whose previous jobs ranged from hospitality to wealth management, have also been offered the opportunity to gain work experience with CR Smith installation teams.

The scheme was set up to help address the growing demand for trade skills. As Ian said: “More than ever apprenticeships will play a crucial role in the economy, and at CR Smith we are committed to developing new innovative ways of delivering sustainable training programmes”. 

Close up photo of a CR Smith apprentice in the training workshop
Photo of a CR Smith apprentice working in the training workshop
Close up photo of a CR Smith apprentice in the training workshop
CR Smith apprentices photographed at the training facility in Fife College

Bespoke Joinery Programme from CR Smith and Fife College