June 24th 2022

'Keeping it in the family'

My eldest son is a nuclear scientist, my 12-year-old daughter dreams of becoming a doctor and my middle son, William, is a quantity surveyor – just like me.

Both William and I work for Phoenix Brickwork, and I am immensely proud that he has chosen to follow in my footsteps.

It is incredible that we get to spend some of our working days together, watching the impressive projects take shape and being part of one of the biggest brickwork, drywall and scaffold businesses in the UK.

I qualified as a quantity surveyor at the age of 22 and have enjoyed a very happy career in the construction industry.

Right now, I’m close to celebrating my 30th work anniversary and now it’s my absolute pleasure to watch my 21-year-old son starting out in the profession. Seeing him making his way in the world makes me feel proud and I couldn’t be happier that we both work for Phoenix.

It was about a year ago when a job opportunity came up at Phoenix, and I thought about talking to William about it. He was working for another company in their quality assurance department, but I knew he’d be perfect for the job here.

He’s clever, enthusiastic, and driven and I knew that becoming a quantity surveyor, like I did at his age, would be good for him.

I remember telling him that we had an opportunity at Phoenix, and I saw a glimpse of a smile on his face and the rest, as they say, is history.

William has learned the ropes fast. He’s at college one day a week and he’s got a good mentor - me! I love chatting to him about work and often, after a long day, he’s still asking me stuff when we’re sitting on the sofa at night watching TV.

At Phoenix, bringing in bright and energetic young people is extremely important to the business. Our founder and group chairman, Christian Watson, is keen to see more youngsters learning real, practical skills in scaffolding, drylining and bricklaying.

It’s his dream to establish a Phoenix Brickwork Training Academy so he can invest in our industry and provide people with genuine trade skills.

Currently, we have more than 20 apprentices at Phoenix, and I’m always delighted when youngsters want to pursue careers in the construction industry.

Like Christian, I believe young people deserve the chance to secure their dream jobs and prove themselves at work. It is so important to find new talent – especially as the business is developing and growing at such a rapid rate.

There’s always buzz at Phoenix. When I was sold the Phoenix dream more than two years ago, I had no idea what it would be like working here. It is amazing to be part of something so big and it is great to share the experience with one of my sons.

William and I love it when the team at Phoenix win new contracts, and we get a thrill when we work on some of the UK’s most prestigious projects together.

We have delivered on some massive jobs, but the one that stands out for me is the Adlington Road Care Facility in Sheffield.

Phoenix Brickwork was awarded the £2.4m masonry package on this brick and block build using 350,000 blocks and nearly 700,000 bricks over a 50-week build and William and I were heavily involved. As his dad, it was great to see William getting stuck in and enjoying himself.

Sometimes, I ask myself if I’ve done the right thing encouraging my son to pursue the same career as me, but when I see him doing so well, I know he’s a real asset to the business.

Young people, like William, are the face of the future. He literally is my work-family – in every sense of the word!