Bricklaying apprentice Jess overcomes adversity to ‘build’ strong career in construction

Jess Crook volunteering with the Tall Ships Youth TrustJess Crook volunteering with the Tall Ships Youth Trust
Jess Crook volunteering with the Tall Ships Youth Trust
A bricklaying apprentice at Barratt Homes is building a strong career in construction – despite a challenging start to life.

Jess Crook, 22, is currently working on the company’s Harbour Place development in Bedhampton.

And with an impressive five awards under her belt – including National Apprentice of the Year – she is proving how important it is for companies like Barratt Homes to invest in and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds.

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Jess was born three months premature and was in and out of hospital as a child. While at school, she struggled with her concentration, which led to poor attendance.

But after working hard to pass her GCSEs, she then studied bricklaying at college, which is how she found out about Barratt’s apprenticeship scheme.

Jess recalled: ‘I had lots of visits to hospital when I was younger, which meant I fell behind and often felt like the odd one out at school. I also struggled in an academic setting, but I was determined to pass my exams and go on to college.

‘Barratt’s apprenticeship scheme has been perfect for me. I’m learning new skills every day and I’m enjoying every second.’

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She has already passed her level 2 building certificate and has been offered work with two of Barratt Homes’ subcontractors after she completes her training.

Anthony Dimmick, Barratt Homes Community Liaison Officer, said: ‘Jess has shown remarkable resilience, dedication, and a true passion for bricklaying.

‘Her hard work, determination, and positive attitude have meant that she’s consistently exceeding expectations and demonstrating exceptional skills and craftsmanship.

‘Jess is a true inspiration and a shining example of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it.’

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As part of her personal and career development, Jess has also taken part in a Barratt Heroes employee volunteering programme, choosing to volunteer for the company’s partnered charity, the Tall Ships Youth Trust.

She joined a volunteer voyage crew to work and live in a unique, physically, and mentally challenging environment onboard the charity’s iconic 72ft Challenger yacht.

The Portsmouth-based Tall Ships Youth Trust helps young people aged 12-25, many of which come from disadvantaged backgrounds, develop skills required for employment such as team building, resilience, and leadership.

Jess said: ‘Tall Ships Youth Trust is providing a wonderful service to young people in the local area, and it’s been life-changing for me and my career. Without this opportunity, I wouldn’t be where I am today.’

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Barratt Developments plc is the country’s largest housebuilder, comprising Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Barratt London.

This year the company received more NHBC Pride in the Job Quality awards than any other housebuilder for the 17th year in a row and was awarded 5 stars by its customers in the HBF satisfaction survey for the 14th year in a row.

Barratt / David Wilson Homes’ Southampton division is currently building at 11 actively selling developments across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset and West Sussex.