AS CITY Building’s 60 new apprentices pick up their tools, outgoing chairman Allan Casey has a few words of advice.

“Don’t panic, work hard and enjoy the next four years,” says the 30-year-old from Dennistoun.

Allan should know. He was a joinery apprentice with the firm – one of Scotland’s largest construction businesses – when he left school at the age of 16.

“I didn’t enjoy school much, but at 14 I got the chance to do a vocational programme and that led to the apprenticeship with City Building,” he explains.

“It was a fantastic experience, that not only taught me my trade, but really gave me lots of confidence and life skills too.”

Three years ago, Allan decided to switch careers, from joinery to politics. He is now the SNP councillor for Dennistoun.

“It’s a big change but I haven’t quite given up on my trade,” he laughs. “I fitted my mum’s kitchen last week!”

Allan, who has completed his tenure as City Building chairman, met with some of the new cohort of apprentices who join the company this month.

They include joiners, heating engineers, lift engineers, painter, plasterers and plumbers and half are tenants in Wheatley properties. The number of female apprentices has risen from nine percent to 16 percent.

“It was great to be able to spend time with the new apprentices,” said Allan.

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“I think they appreciated the fact that I had stood exactly where they were standing and I understood what it was like to feel a bit nervous and daunted starting out in a new career.

“But I think it was good for them to see what I have achieved too, since completing my apprenticeship.

“The support you get at City Building is second to none. I would not be doing the career I am doing now, nor would I have the confidence I have, if it wasn’t for them.”

It has been a successful 12 months for the company, which gained a prestigious Customer Service Excellence award following a rigorous independent assessment. It was also recognised at the Most Inspiring UK Employer awards, established to reward diversity and inclusion in the built environment industry.

The firm was crowned the best UK Gas Contractor of the Year in the 2019 ASCP UK awards.

READ MORE: Win a fabulous room makeover in time for Christmas

As well as providing the largest construction craft apprenticeship programme in Scotland, City Building also operates Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) which employs 250 people, around 50 per cent of whom have a disability.

The Evening Times, in partnership with City Building and RSBi, is offering one lucky winner the chance for a room makeover in time for Christmas.

It could be a kinship carer, looking after young children because their parents are unable to do so, in desperate need of a new kitchen in their home, a local sports club for disabled children, which could really benefit from new changing rooms, or a selfless teenager who has overcome ill-health but dedicates his or her time to the community.

Whoever the winner is, he or she will benefit from the excellent skills and high quality craftsmanship of the team at RSBi.

To nominate someone you think deserves a room makeover, please email with your name and contact details, the name of the person or group you are nominating and details of why they deserve to win. Alternatively, send the details to us at Room Makeover Competition, Marketing Department, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB to arrive no later than October 22.