Serious Content were commissioned to produce a video to introduce potential apprentices to both the construction industry and J A Burke Construction themselves. 

We conceived the video to be shot entirely on location at live building sites around the West Midlands and to film exclusively staff and subcontractors of J A Burke. The interviews were shot in quite noisy and dusty circumstances but you get the real experience of being on a busy construction site.

We featured Finn, a young apprentice engineer with the company and interspersed his dialogue with those of Bernie the site manager, Dave the site foreman, Ashley a subcontractor and finally Wayne, another site foreman. Susan followed her script to a fair degree but the responses were always planned to be spontaneous and we were delighted with the results, and also the very genuine and glowing feedback we got about J A Burke and its commitment to its staff and training, and to the entire staff of the company and its culture.

The video is below with a transcript of the dialogue below that. By clicking the cc button on the video playbar you can elect to see the dialogue appear in closed captions too. You can read more about the project on our blog too.

Yeah, it’s a good industry to get into. You learn a lot. In fact, I’ve been in this now for 30 odd years, and I’m still learning, so.

Yeah.

It’s a challenging thing, but you learn every day.

Right. And what about apprentices, do you have any on site here?

Yeah, we’ve got young Finn, he’s an apprentice engineer. He’s been with us now for nearly a couple years, I think. He’s doing well coming out getting everything done.

And what kind of training can apprentices at J A Burke expect on site here with the team?

All sorts of training, they keep promoting, training, sending you on different courses. So the young people who are coming into it get trained up to a high standard.

What kind of specialisms are there on site that they might specifically look at?

You learn all ground works from pipe laying, curb laying, building manholes, setting out concrete, doing steel form works, setting shutters, a bit of everything, really.

So the apprentices get to sample different skills, and they get an all round kind of training.

Yeah, they do. Yeah, they’re doing all different things most days.

And then I’d start on HNC at uni, and then if I want to carry on, carry on, carry on, I can go and do my degree.

And that’s it. And J A Burke is supporting you in these qualifications?

Yes. Jim is pushing me through it, so I’ve got this one. Jim put me on that, and then he said I can go to Uni. I spoke to Kieran also so now for September. And then, hopefully, if I want to carry on and do my degree, I can. And they support that. So.

And does JAB support you through all of that training and education? The opportunity is there if you want it.

Yeah, all there. Jim’s pushing. He likes, I think he likes qualifications. He likes the whole college aspect, the Uni aspect, so and which I’m on board with as well, I think qualifications a massive thing.

Definitely. And what would you say to other young people possibly considering a career in construction, and thinking maybe if, you know, of that as a career choice, any advice for them?

I’d definitely go for it. I think it’s some people go down the Uni route now. And they come out and they can’t really find a job, but I think you get invaluable skills. You’re actually doing the job. So people who do civil engineering at Uni, they might come out and not, they might not have been on site at all. But with this you get the best of both worlds.

You get that practical experience alongside you’re supported at JAB and you go through your qualifications.

Yeah, yeah. I think on on site experience is, I’d argue that it’s the most important. You do need the theory side of it, but I think if you haven’t actually done it then you need that. You need the site experience.

Yeah, to know what it entails, if you like it. And what’s your experience been overall as a subcontractor for J A Burke?

Really good. I mean, I do a lot of work for other companies, and this is by far the best company that I work for.

In what ways is it by far the best company?

It’s from the office, the way the organization in the office is really, really good. And then out on site, the workforce that they’ve got that they’re really, really good lads. And we all work together as a team.

So there’s a good dynamic on site here.

Yeah, yeah. And on every other site that I’ve been on, it’s been the same. They’re really good lads to work with, and to work for.

What type of person do you think you need to be to make a success at J A Burke on this scheme?

I feel you need to be good with people. It’s a lot easier. It’s easier on J A Burke because I don’t know a bad, I don’t know a bad bloke on here. They’re all good lads. They’re all here to help. They’ve helped me. So I figure as long as you’re good with people and you’re willing to work, here on time and all that. So, that’s it, you just need to be a good worker.

OK, so it’s a good team environment. And what about your future, how do you see this panning out in the next couple of years for you?

Get my HNC get qualified. Then get on my own jobs. And just progress and become the best I can be.

What are the differences with J A Burke to maybe other companies you’ve worked with before?

Well, it’s you see a lot of the gaffer, Jim, to be fair. He’s out, comes out and sees you quite regular. Plus, they’re always up for giving you more training. And just helping you out, basically.

Have they put you through more training the five years you’ve been with J A Burke?

I’ve done loads of training since I’ve been here. My Triple S ticket, first aid ticket, all abrasive wheels and things like that.

So you’re sort of in control to a certain extent of your own development with the company.

Yeah, yeah. So once we get to a certain point, then Jim will send you on a higher course. So well, at the moment I’m Triple S, TS.

And what does that mean?

It’s site supervisors’ safety training.

Yeah.

But the next one is like site managers safety training. So that’s like the next step up for me.

And what would you say to advice you might give to a young person considering the construction industry? Any tips or advice you might you might say to them while considering this as a career choice?

I’d say if they were thinking of, you know, coming aboard, this would be a good company to do it with, because the work the staff we have here are very knowledgeable, very helpful.

And one final question, so I’ve heard from other team members that talk about the family-run nature of the business, and how that filters through. Do you see that filtering through yourself? And how does that help the team?

I think when you say family, I think there’s 80 in the family, then. That’s everyone concerned, each and every worker, I think, is in the family. It’s J A Burke, all of us, I think.

Well, thank you very much for your time.

Published by Nicholas Bradshaw

Partner in Serious Content

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