Experienced construction worker Alex Bauld is passing his skills and expertise on to young apprentices at one of the UK’s largest wind farm developments.
Alex, a supervisor for leading civil engineering company Jones Bros with more than 50 years’ experience under his belt, is providing a guiding hand to youngsters learning their trade at Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd Wind Energy Project.
Alex is based permanently at Pen y Cymoedd where joint venture partners Jones Bros and Balfour Beatty are delivering infrastructure at Vattenfall’s 76-turbine wind farm in South Wales.
The 70-year-old, who plans to retire later this year, is working with young apprentices to lay 80 miles of cables which connect the turbines to the site’s control station.
Alex, of Rhydymain, near Dolgellau, joined Jones Bros 17 years ago and has since worked on projects including land remediation, wind farms and major road construction schemes, including the Porthmadog bypass.
He said: “I really enjoy working with the young apprentices as it’s rewarding to be able to pass on your skills and knowledge to the next generation of construction workers and civil engineers.
“The apprentices I work with are a great bunch of lads and you can tell they’ve been very well prepared when they arrive here from Jones Bros’ training centre.
“I find the best qualities to have as an apprentice are to be a good listener and be willing to learn from their mistakes. I always tell the lads when they’ve done a good job, and if they’ve got something wrong I tell them how they can improve it.
“It’s also important to be polite and to talk to the trainees in a respectful way. You get a lot more out of someone by speaking to them properly rather than shouting, as they did when I was a young lad working on building sites.”
Alex, who has three sons and a daughter, began his career in a sawmill before working on the railways in the 1960’s, taking up miles of railway tracks and removing weighbridges during Beeching’s restructuring of the railways.
He later worked on the construction of the Channel Tunnel and ran his own timber business, before joining Ruthin-based family firm Jones Bros.
The project has given Jones Bros trainees and apprentices’ valuable on-site experience, as well as employment opportunities in the local area. Two thirds of all plant operatives have been sourced from within 30 miles of the Pen y Cymoedd site, and a total of 12 apprentices have been taken as part of the project to date.
John Dielhof, Jones Bros’ managing director said: “We have always been committed to providing quality training to the next generation of construction workers and engineers. This commitment enables us to be well placed to carry out large schemes and benefit from a highly skilled and loyal workforce.
“We pride ourselves on the high quality of our training scheme and it’s greatly enhanced by people like Alex who can pass on their many years of experience and skills to our trainees.
“Our apprentices really benefit from learning alongside Alex who has worked on some of the largest construction projects in the UK.”
As part of its commitment to apprentices Jones Bros established a training centre during the 1980’s to ensure its workforce was trained to a high standard.
Since that time it has developed into a facility that employs two full time plant trainers and a training co-ordinator, with access to a range of specialist training providers.
In 2014 Jones Bros won the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) ‘Outstanding Training Partner Award’ at the Pride of Construction Awards and the CITB “Large Apprentice Employer of The Year Award (Wales)” at the Apprenticeship Awards.
Last year it made the shortlist in the Training Excellence category for the Construction News Specialists Awards 2015.
Founded in the 1950s, Jones Bros employs approximately 350 people. It operates across the UK in sectors including construction of waste management facilities, highways and renewable energy projects such as wind farms.