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Peace Recruitment steps-in to help female school-leaver achieve her dream of becoming an apprentice joiner

The construction industry is crying out for more young people, and females in particularly, to join the sector to help combat both the skills shortages and the ageing workforce.

So when Chris Peace, managing director of Peace Recruitment, found out about Libby Hartley’s story, he knew he had to act. Libby, who is 16 from Edinburgh, has dreamed of becoming a joiner since 2nd year at school, but was having no luck finding an apprenticeship or suitable college course. She had just about given up hope and was heading back to school, when by chance she had a discussion with Chris, who was giving a talk on recruitment at her local youth group.

Chris explains: “I met Libby by chance when I was giving a talk about recruitment to a local youth group near where I live, and when I heard her story I knew we needed to help. So I asked her to send me her CV and offered to try help her out. She ticks every box for what the construction industry is crying out for just now. She is young, hungry, and very eager to learn, and the fact she is female is also a big plus.”

“I passed Libby’s details onto my colleague Gavin Sullivan, who is our joinery and fit out specialist, and asked him to use his contacts in the industry to see if anything was available. He quickly got a reply from SJS Property, who said they were very interested in meeting with her. So we set this up and awaited a response. She met with Derek Carter, Head of HR at the Sharkey Group, and he was blown away with how she came across, the feedback we got was she was an outstanding candidate.”

Peace adds: “Libby is now SJS Property’s first ever female bench hand joiner apprentice, and splits her time between working and going to college. Its not often you get a real feel good story in this profession, but this is definitely it. We are very proud of our growing industry reputation for placing customer service before sales, and this is another good example of this. Sometimes there are things that are more important in business than just making money.”

Derek Carter, Group HR Manager with the Sharkey Group, adds: “Libby ticked every box for us, as we are really trying hard to encourage more young people, and more females in particular, into the industry. However, this was certainly not the reason Libby got the job. When we met with her she came across very well, and was extremely knowledgeable, passionate and enthusiastic.”


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