A COMPANY with an interest in repairing York’s past is putting its faith in the hands of the best of the future.

CG Building and Restoration Limited celebrates a ten-year anniversary this Sunday (August 6) and managing director Vernon Carter recognised the importance apprentices had and continue to have on the business.

The company specialise in high-end residential properties, renovations and refurbishments of conservation or listed buildings – including Central Methodist Church in York, Hovingham Hall, The Wesley Centre in Malton and properties on the Castle Howard estate.

Vernon has more than 20 years of experience himself in historic restoration and conservation.

He started out as an apprentice joiner, starting out with what is now Shepherd Group, in York.

York Press: Tim Kimberling putting his training into practiceTim Kimberling putting his training into practice (Image: CG Building and Restoration Limited)

Vernon said: “As the business has grown, it’s provided us with the opportunity to seriously think about how we not only recruit our workforce, but more importantly how we train the workforce.

“Over the last six, seven years, we’ve been very keen on bringing apprentices on.

“Apprentices are the future of the workforce and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find good, capable tradesmen.

“Our philosophy is ‘train our own people from the start’.”

Vernon is a co-opted committee member of the Federation of Master Builders where he says training is a key focus as the industry is mindful that it doesn’t do as much as it should.

He said: “We’re trying to encourage young people, especially, to come into the industry.

“There’s been a lack of interest I think, mainly because the education system typically wants to send everybody to university.

"But there are a lot of people who want to learn a trade.

"Once you've learned a skill, no-one can ever take it away from you."

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), helps to attract talent and support an industry which it reports will need an additional 225,000 workers to meet UK construction demand by 2027.

Its Construction Skills Network report published in January this year states that the Yorkshire and Humber region requires 3,560 annual recruits.

Vernon’s company is also putting three colleagues in the office through other technical apprenticeships and funded training is provided by their membership of CITB.

CG Building and Restoration has helped shape ten apprentices since its foundation from a home office by Vernon and his wife Sue, who is the financial director of the company.

As well as taking on joiners learning the trade, the company has recruited apprentice bricklayers and a plasterer and most of them have stayed in the trade.

Half of those who have been through the apprenticeships via CG Building and Restoration are still working with them today.

Tim Kimberling, 21, is in his third year of a Carpentry & Joinery - Site Carpentry City & Guilds Technical Certificate/Diploma where time is split between three weeks on site and a week at York College working either on theory, practical work or hitting the books.

The campus work is done alongside residential new build apprentices working for medium-sized and large firms, so Tim’s site work on churches and other traditional structures is a little different.

He said: “It feels like a piece of history, really, when you walk in.

“It has a different smell, everything.

“You can tell the difference between a new timber and an old timber when you’re cutting through it.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to work in these historic houses – you’re helping be a part of that history and keep it going.”

Harvey Brown, 19, is scheduled to start the same course that Tim is completing this September but is already spending time on CG sites.

He said: “The days fly by because none of it’s old, or boring, or repetitive.

“Especially for me being so new to this.

“There’s nothing I love more than doing it right now.”

Vernon said: “Over the ten years we’ve worked on some great projects, with some great people.

“There are a lot of talented people out there, both tradespeople and architects.

“But every day is very much a learning day, and anybody that’s keen or interested in coming into the industry, don’t think twice.”