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Man on a building site inspecting a pipe

Meet Darren Bunch, Apprentice Plumber at Coronation Square

Published: 15 December 2022
Filed under: regeneration

We spoke to local resident Darren about his apprenticeship with Taylor Wimpey at Coronation Square.

‘About three years ago, I applied for a couple of apprenticeships because I wanted to change my job role, but then coronavirus happened, and I thought: that’s me done. Then luckily enough, I applied for an apprenticeship through Waltham Forest Council, got an interview and that’s how I got the role here as a plumbing trainee.

I live in Leyton, so I know the area well. I grew up on the estate opposite.  I pop in to see my mum at lunchtimes and I can walk to work every day. It’s awesome.

As soon as I started working here, I found that Taylor Wimpey is good to work for, plumbers on site are always helpful and they’ve got their own work to get on with, but they can see if someone is interested and wants to learn. Hopefully I can get to that stage and give back to other people further down the line and be understanding like they are with certain things to me.

I have previous experience of plumbing through a college course and working as a plumber’s mate and because I’ve been here for a while, I’ve gauged I can do quite a bit which isn’t like a first year apprentice. It’s like a jigsaw falling into place. I’m always learning new things, there are different types of pipework, all different types of regulations, which is what the apprenticeship is really helping me out with.

Work is also really understanding with my family commitments too as I’ve got four kids. I said I’m going to try my best and give it my all but there will be times I might need to be flexible with childcare. They’ve been so understanding, and I think it’s because they can see I do try and give my best for them and they’re nice people, so they’ve been giving back to me.

The only pressure I get at work is the pressure I put on myself to pick things up quicker. I’m doing a functional skills course alongside the plumbing, it’s all part of the course. It refreshes your brain on stuff you haven’t done for years; it’s enjoyable as well. It’s another thing to have because whatever happens in the future, it shows that you’ve got relevant up to date qualifications and it can only benefit you. Hopefully, I’m an example for my kids, going to college and doing this to encourage them to study whilst they’re young. Kids learn much more from actions than words.

Looking to the future, I’m just enjoying the apprenticeship, taking it step by step to see where it could lead me. There’s lots of options, whether I want to be an employee or branch out on my own to become self employed.

The way Coronation Square has been built, you’ve got the communal area and the homes with the shops underneath and you’re going to have the sports centre too. Hopefully where you’ve got people in such a small area, but you’ve got local shops there, it’ll bring people together like it used to.

I do take pride in being a part of the construction side of Coronation Square, because when you’ve grown up somewhere, and my kids are growing up round here, you want them to have something nice that they can go to and enjoy themselves and it feels safe sending them there.’

If you're interested in getting into the construction industry, or any other local employment opportunities like Darren, please email opportunitiesteam@walthamforest.gov.uk