James Berry and Lewis Bennett
James (L) with Lewis Bennett

James joined VGC in summer 2016 as an apprentice formworker on Crossrail C512 Whitechapel station for client BBMV.

He gained an NVQ Level 2 in formwork in June 2018.

“From the moment I met him, I knew that James had the right attitude. He’s keen to learn and develop, and always does his very best. He’s a real team player: determined to support his colleagues, and he’d never do anything sub-standard because it would reflect on the others in his team,” said Nick Wells, labour manager.

The site foremen at Crossrail C512 commended James for “great time-keeping, excellent quality of work, never misses a shift, gets on really well with his colleagues. He is open to learning and progression, and wants to develop his career; at the same time he’s always happy to help anyone who needs it.”

The Building Craft College tutor commented: “James makes a lot of effort when he comes to college and his skill set is far beyond other learners in his class; he will be a valuable asset in the future.”

The BBMV works manager on site made James up to general operative rate in November 2016, an increase in pay to reflect more closely the quality of his work. He was impressed with James’s skills and integrity: despite being paid at an apprentice rate, James was producing work of the same standard as the others paid at formwork-carpenter rate.

At the Crossrail awards event in March 2017, James was highly commended in the Apprenticeship Collaboration category, out of over 650 apprentices across the project.

When James left the project and began work for another company, he continued to be an advocate for VGC, saying: “I have nothing but good experiences working for VGC; I loved the atmosphere in the team and how professional people there were. Any time I had a problem or issue they were always willing to help, or find someone who could.”

James is hoping to return to work for VGC in future, and meanwhile is spreading the word about VGC to our clients and future potential recruits.

Military background

James joined the British Army straight from school aged 16, and served from 2007 to 2016. He attended training courses in signalling and driving, with promotions to senior operative and then team manager and lance-corporal. VGC works closely with BuildForce to support military service-leavers into careers in construction.