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Apprentice - Watermark

A COVID-19 marshal at Watermark, Countryside and The Royal Borough of Windsor &  Maidenhead’s £94m development in the heart of Maidenhead town centre has become a trainee site manager – exemplifying the opportunities for local people being created through the construction. 

John Hitchens, 34, who lives close to the development in the Cox Green area of Maidenhead, originally started work on the site in May 2020 as a COVID-19 marshal. As one of two marshals on site, he ensured that the site team adhered to the measures implemented by Countryside. 

Countryside’s site management quickly identified John’s strong skill set for construction, with key skills in task management and communication. Given this aptitude, John was set a number of tasks that would typically be undertaken by a trainee site manager, in which he excelled.  

Watermark apprentice
John Hitchens on site at Watermark

As a result, the Countryside team took swift action to create a pathway for John into a career in construction management. John began working full-time as part of the site management team from July 2020, and Countryside also set him up on an NVQ Level 4 Diploma in construction site supervision, which he started in September 2020. 

Since then John has started working as part of the site management team, playing a key role in progressing one of the buildings, consisting of 19 homes. He has overseen and co-ordinated the works from first fix through to final completion and is currently working to get these apartments completed by the end of March 2021, ready for the first residents at the development to move in. 

Starting in 2019, the construction of Watermark is directly supporting 150 jobs, with nine apprentices currently working on site, and is expected to fully complete in 2024. 

Daniel King, Managing Director, Partnerships West London & Thames Valley, Countryside, said: “John’s work at Watermark has been exemplary and has helped the whole team to deliver the build programme on time, ahead of the imminent first completions at Watermark. John has truly seized his opportunity, forming a strong foundation for a very bright future in construction management.” 

Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, said: “I am delighted that John’s skills and abilities were recognised and he was taken on full-time and trained. The council want to support our local residents as well as supporting the local economy as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. It is fantastic that a resident was able to work on this site and help get the properties ready for residents to move into.”