An Astley building company has taken on its first apprentice in 20 years.

Seventeen-year-old Joe Parry has started a three-year bricklayer apprenticeship with Redwaters.

Joe, who lives with his parents, John and Louise Parry, in Moorgate Drive, Astley, is working at Redwaters latest development, Kingshill Manor in Tyldesley, and will attend Wigan and Leigh College to complete his training.

“I’m thrilled to get an apprenticeship with such a well-established company,” said Joe, who attended St Mary’s RC High School, Astley, and has always been interested in how things are built and put together.

The construction industry has started a slow recovery from the recession with an increase in the number of apprenticeships last year. If this upward trend stays on course, 2013 could see the highest number of new apprentices for at least 10 years.

Experts believe, however, that more needs to be done to persuade employers to take on apprentices.

There are still more people looking for a construction apprenticeship than there are vacancies, and the industry faces the problem of an ageing workforce, with a significant number due to retire in the next 10 years. “Apprenticeships are crucial to producing the workers of the future for all UK industries,” said Redwaters director, Stephen Williams.

“Our industry needs people with skills, and it makes sound commercial sense that we give young people the opportunity to train and get the skills modern methods of building demand.”

Redwaters has decided to take on a new apprentice every time it starts a new development.

Kingshill Manor is on the site of the former Kingshill Special School in Elliott Street, and consists of 12 bungalows.

The gated development with landscaped gardens is already proving hugely popular with people looking to downsize. Prices start at £139,950, and the first bungalows should be ready by the end of May. For more details visit or ring 01942 877600.