Thursday 12th October 2023
Showground, Wadebridge

The Apprentice who got to the top

The Managing Director of a growing Cornish construction company, who chose to start out in the industry as a 16-year-old Apprentice, has credited the decision as the route to his success.

Giles Corbey heads up St Agnes-based Corbey Construction Ltd, which now employs 70% of its workforce as Apprentices looking to start their own careers in the industry.

“Without being a former Apprentice I don’t think I would be where I am today,” said Mr Corbey. “It gave me the perfect platform to progress in my trade and then be able to move on to run my own company. I’m now Managing Director with a total of 17 employees and 8 sub-contractors, and with the responsibility of managing contracts worth nearly £1 million.”

Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular way for young people to earn while they learn while getting practical experience and a foot-in-the-door into many industries.

Giles Corbey, who has employed Apprentices for almost 20 years, is enthusiastic about the impact they can have on a business.

“An Apprenticeship is an excellent qualification,” he said. “Once you’ve completed an Apprenticeship it proves to any future employer that you have worked alongside qualified people for a set period of time thus benefiting from their experience and knowledge. It’s also recognised and respected all around the world. On top of that there is seriously good money to be earned as well.”

He added: “If the right candidate becomes available, I will make sure I can fit them in. They are an integral part of the day-to-day running of the company and fit in perfectly with my overall business plan.”

Many senior members of Cornwall’s business community started their careers on an Apprenticeship programme. Covering a wide range of sectors this group includes business owners like Mr Corbey, senior executives at Cornwall Council through to head chefs within the Rick Stein Group.

Cornwall Council currently employs 25 Apprentices and 36 have completed Apprenticeship programmes with them since April 2015.

Davinia Grist, Marketing and Design Team Lead at Cornwall Council, said: “Apprenticeships are one of the roles we offer to attract new talent and help us manage our skills shortages in some areas. There are lots of fantastic opportunities for a variety of careers whether you are looking for your first role or are already in employment.”

The Rick Stein group has a seven-year partnership with Truro and Penwith College, through the Rick Stein Academy programme. 60 Apprentices have started their careers with the business to date and 15 new roles to start in September are currently being advertised.

“Apprenticeships have become an established part of our kitchen culture and we love welcoming new individuals to our team and our business. Apprentices are given access to support and training to ensure appropriate understanding of the key areas that will ultimately support them to be skilled chefs with the potential to deliver a bigger role within the kitchen team,” said Daubroy Delahunty, the group’s Learning and Development Manager.

Truro and Penwith College works closely with Cornish employers to match them with talented young people who can make a difference and positively impact on their future success. Anyone seeking an Apprenticeship in Cornwall can search for vacancies on the College website, register to find out about the latest opportunities and be matched with an Apprenticeship.

For more information visit call 01872 242711 or email