Students urged to build skills to develop careers

Rising from apprentice to project director, Redrow’s Barry Port was the ideal choice to inspire South Essex College students about future career paths.

The careers talk is the latest activity as part of a partnership between Redrow and the college, which involves educational visits to live construction sites, industry professionals sharing tips and advice, plus work experience placements being offered to students.

Barry told those studying the BTEC Construction and the Built EnvironmentLevel 3 Diploma about his own experience and the various roles within different departments of Redrow’s business.

Barry explained:

“It’s important that we continue to attract people to work in construction so that we can have the right people and skills in place to help address the housing shortage.”

“There’s so much more to the industry than simply the trades involved in building homes – we also need people to acquire and plan new sites, purchase materials, appoint and manage subcontractors, sell the homes and maintain high levels of customer service. The students are at the beginning of their career journey and if they work hard there will be lots of opportunities available to them.”

Barry Port worked his way up the career ladder from an apprentice electrician to assistant site manager to project manager then contracts manager and acting head of construction.

He entered a director development programme with his previous employer, before joining Redrow last year.  As project director he’s responsible for overseeing and coordinating the various departments involved with individual housing developments.

Student Jonathan Adenugba, 22:

“I found Barry’s talk really interesting.  It gave me a much better insight into the construction industry and the different routes I could take.”

Curriculum manager Valdermar Mejia said:

“We have received positive feedback from students and staff who appreciate these types of talks from industry professionals. When people like Barry share their experiences it enhances students’ learning and increases their aspirations by encouraging them to think about their future careers.”

South Essex College is a large FE and HE College with three campuses in Southend, Basildon and Thurrock. It offers a wide variety of qualifications from vocational diplomas and A-Levels to degrees.

For more information about South Essex College see

Trainees make up around 15per cent of Redrow’s direct employees and the company is looking to maintain that as its workforce grows.

For details of training opportunities with Redrow see apprentices.