Apprentice Painter, Francesca Fordham, has been carving out her career in the construction industry through our Apprenticeship Scheme. She has won awards along the way and even travelled to South Africa as a volunteer to help refurbish township schools.
Q: When did you join Axis and how did you hear about our apprenticeship programme?
I began my career at Axis as an Apprentice Painter in September 2018. I was 17 years old and attended North Kent College in Gravesend – and Axis came to us looking for students to join their Apprentice Scheme.
Q: What have been the stages of your career since you joined as an apprentice?
I started out at Level 1, have recently qualified with a Level 2 NVQ and Diploma in Painting and Decorating and am now at Level 3
Q: Describe your day-to-day experiences as an apprentice?
I attended North Kent College in Gravesend for one day a week, whilst working with Axis on-site for the other four days.
Q: How did you benefit from ongoing support as an Apprentice?
I benefitted by attending the Dulux wallpapering course. The Dulux Academy in Slough offers Apprentice Painters the opportunity to take part in a master class as part of their career development, introducing us to leading technology and the latest skills.
Q: How has completing an Apprenticeship with Axis helped your career and what made you stay at Axis?
Doing an apprenticeship at Axis has helped me qualify with a Level 2 NVQ and diploma. It’s a good company to work for and there are lots of benefits, which is what made me stay and continue with my Level 3 at North Kent.
Q: What was the highlight of your apprenticeship and what part of was the most challenging?
The highlight of my apprenticeship has to be volunteering to refurbish a school in South Africa. We were able to go and help disadvantaged children have a better education. The most challenging thing about the apprenticeship was joining the painting apprentice team as the only girl! Now we are six boys and two girls. We all work together really well. I am well respected in Axis. Here they do really care about their people. There is equal opportunity to progress at Axis and I have been given a lot of opportunities and training.
Q: What advice would you give to others who are considering doing an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are a good way to climb the career ladder, and it gives you a good start to a qualification. The advice I would give to any woman wanting to start work in the construction industry is just go out there and do it, don’t let anyone stop you!
More about Francesca
Francesca Fordham began her career at Axis as an Apprentice Painter in September 2018 when she was 17 years old. She has recently qualified with a Level 2 NVQ and Diploma in Painting and Decorating and is currently studying for Level 3 at North Kent College.
In her first year as an apprentice, Fran won North Kent College’s Principal’s Award and Apprentice of the Year Award (2018).
In 2021, she won the Painting and Decorating Apprentice ‘Paperhanger of the Year’ in the Painting & Decorating Association’s (PDA) wallpapering competition. Read more about the award here
As part of her apprenticeship, she also volunteered to help a team refurbish two township schools in South Africa through North Kent College. Find out more about Fran’s trip here.