Ben and Luigi-1

The BECK workshop has been welcoming apprentices into the team for almost 15 years.  Five years ago, master craftsmen Ben Puttock and Luigi Giacopazzi, became Apprentice Mentors, leading the three year scheme.  Here they discuss how the apprentice scheme has evolved and the changes they are proud to have implemented:


Tell us about your roles at BECK.

Ben: “I joined BECK in 1997 so I’ve been with the company a long time.  I’m a bench joiner and now working my way towards a Foreman position.  This progression is something the apprentices can look at and see what other roles will be available to them in the future.”

Luigi: “I’ve been at BECK since 2013.  I’m also a Bench Joiner, Marker Out, Charge Hand and I approve the drawings before they go into the mill.”


How has the experience of our apprentices changed since you both took over responsibility for the scheme?

Ben: “When we first began taking on apprentices, they would work all over the workshop, right from the beginning.  This was good as they had a chance to work on lots of different projects but on the other hand, they didn’t have as much one-on-one time with a senior joiner.”

Luigi: “A few years ago the number of apprentices coming to us started to increase and this is when Ben and I took over the responsibility for the scheme.  We have three sections; the main workshop, where I work.  The mezzanine, where senior bench joiners Godfrey and Lee are stationed.  And Ben’s workspace, which is on the ground floor next to the main workshop.  We decided to assign new apprentices to different sections with senior joiners for the duration of their time with us.  So they had a mentor who they could work closely with and learn from.”

Ben: “We are evolving the scheme all the time.  We have to keep asking the important questions.  Are the apprentices getting the most out of their experience?  What are we getting out of it as a business?  Is everyone gaining something positive from what we are doing?  How can we improve year on year?”

Do the apprentices get a chance to move around the workshop?

Ben: “Where they are placed is not set in stone but it’s good for them to have a base and someone they learn from, for most of their work.  Then, as they progress, depending on how well they do, it makes you think differently about where they could be positioned.”

Luigi: “We have an apprentice who has only been with us a few months.  But he is progressing quickly and is really keen and focused.  So, he will get opportunities coming to him quicker because he is showing he can cope with learning more in a short period of time.”


What other benefits do our apprentices have from working here?

Ben: “BECK is not just the workshop.  So, they get the opportunity to work in a variety of departments.  They get to go on site, to see the pieces we’ve made get delivered and fitted.  After they’ve completed two years in the workshop, they also get the chance to go to the Design Development department and learn CAD skills, so they fully understand the drawings in front of them.”

Luigi: “It’s not’s just joinery.  There are quite a few people at BECK who started off as apprentices in the workshop but now work in other departments like Estimating, Project Management and Construction Management.  The apprenticeship gives a good base for them to go on and find the role that suits them best.”