The importance of investing in young people’s construction careers

Founded in 1994, Dearneside Fabrications proudly celebrates 30 years of business this year!

As part of our month-long celebrations of this special anniversary, we wanted to spotlight some of the staff here at Dearneside. After all, a huge part of Dearneside is our people, so we put on the kettle, cracked open the biscuits and invited a few of them in for a chat to see how they felt about their time at Dearneside.

A particular element of Dearneside’s culture is our staff investment and development. In offering apprenticeships and training programmes to each and every one of our employees, we continually strive to help people, particularly young people, to build their construction careers.

In this article, we speak to Joe, Lewis and Sophie, employees who each came to Dearneside via an apprenticeship or training programme…

Joe Merdith, Apprentice

Time at Dearneside: 2 years


Joe came to Dearneside through an apprenticeship programme with AMRC (part of the University of Sheffield) just 2 years ago, straight after finishing school.

For Joe, it was the obvious investment and simple keenness from Dearneside that made him want to join the team.

“Dearneside stood out to me straight away when I was choosing where to study my welding and fabrications apprenticeship. 

There was something about the interview that just showed me they were just as much invested in my career as I was, and that really encouraged me to feel excited about becoming part of their team.”

Joe’s now been with Dearneside for almost 2 years, and this feeling of investment from his peers isn’t something that’s gone away.

“The people at Dearneside are what I think sets us apart, it’s a real community. I don’t think any other place would support me like they do here, and I can also see where I’m going to end up when I finish my apprenticeship because those who have already are still here to guide me through it.”

Lewis Thorpe, Plater Welder

Time at Dearneside: 11 years


First joining the team as an Apprentice Plater Welder before being promoted into his current role as a Plater Welder, Lewis has been with Dearneside for 11 years.

His journey into a construction career began when his Dad booked him a 2-week engineering course during the 6-week school holidays, where he immediately took to the craft.

Following this and his completion from school, Lewis then decided to pursue an apprenticeship in engineering, where he found out about Dearneside. Before taking on the job, we offered him half a day to come by and have a trial day, so that he could get used to the role and see if it was for him. Luckily, it was!

“I really valued the Dearneside team’s eagerness to support me and progress me in my career. 

Ever since joining over 11 years ago, I’ve always felt looked after here, as well as being pushed and challenged to do better. This ambition to grow is what makes it such an exciting place to work, and the togetherness of the team boosts my pride in the work we do.”

In his current role as Plater Welder, Lewis now takes on more responsibility and leadership over his projects, offering guidance and advice to his fellow colleagues and apprentices, too.

Sophie Bray, Estimator

Time at Dearneside: 9 years


As an Estimator, Sophie is often the first point of contact for enquiries, design and pricing projects for our clients here at Dearneside. Before joining the team 9 years ago, Sophie was working in hospitality but knew she wanted to build a career elsewhere.

Sophie was looking for a trainee role at the time when she got a call from Deaneside offering her an interview for the Trainee Estimator role. She didn’t know much about the sector, but quickly learnt that much of her existing skills and experience were well suited to the role.

“When I came in for the interview, I just remember feeling so welcomed. I could see how involved my role would be in the company, it was exciting.

This excitement is something that’s remained constant throughout my 9 years at Dearneside, too. Seeing our projects come to life is really quite special when you know what part you’ve played in it.”

Aside from the work, Sophie also values the culture here at Dearneside, noting the people here as the reason for the company’s success.

“I’ve been here for 9 years now and have seen just how much the team has grown. From being off on maternity leave to being offered more flexible hours when I returned, my role here gives me a great sense of security and support. Our culture is just like that though, it’s incredibly supportive.