An Ellon joiner has called it a day following nearly half a century’s service to with the one employer
Derek Lawrence, 65, has retired following 50 years with Barratt Homes.
Joinery offers variety and a sense of satisfaction, particularly when building items from scratchDerek Lawrence Retired Joiner
Derek, who has lived and worked in Ellon throughout his life, left school at 15 to become an apprentice joiner with William Bruce and Sons in 1965. He has worked with Barratt Homes ever since.
And company bosses paid a glowing tribute to the joiner at his recent farewell presentation.
Looking back, Derek notes many similarities and differences when comparing his experience to that of today’s apprentices.
For example, while new Barratt Homes recruits complete four years of intensive training with longer blocks of college attendance, Derek trained for five years, with just two years’ day release college attendance on Thursday nights and Fridays.
And before starting on the tools, Derek spent his first six months in the storeroom where he supported the business by maintaining stock and materials, as well as keeping the workshop clean and tidy.
As a time-served joiner, Derek, who comes from a family of tradesmen, has taken five other joiners through their apprenticeship, amounting to more than 20 years in training and mentoring support.
Recalling his career, he said: “The work was very physically demanding as we didn’t have the site support, tools and equipment available now.
“Today, construction sites are much more streamlined – there is more site support in terms of people and equipment, and health and safety and quality are paramount, given the influence of schemes like the Considerate Construction initiative and the NHBC’s Pride in the Job awards.”
Derek added: “Architecture and construction methods have changed, but the principals still stand. Everyone needs to work together, and any tradesperson worth their salt must strive for a good finish without cutting corners.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in the trade.
“Joinery offers variety and a sense of satisfaction, particularly when building items from scratch.
“But now it’s time to wind down, take it easy and get out into the garden a bit more.”
Douglas McLeod, regional director for Barratt Scotland, paid tribute to Derek’s service.
He said: “From everyone here at Barratt Homes I would like to thank Derek for his hard work and commitment to the business over all these years.
“I wish him all the best for the future and a long and happy retirement.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about Barratt Homes’ apprenticeship programme should visit www.buildingcareerstogether.co.uk