Youngster loving life on site after securing a joinery apprenticeship

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A young woman from Belper is laying the foundations for a career in construction after securing an apprenticeship through work experience.

Courtney Curzon, 17, has been taken on as a joinery apprentice with contractor G F Tomlinson, and is pursuing an NVQ Level 2 in carpentry and joinery at Derby College alongside working, earning and learning on site.

It is the latest step towards her long-held ambition, which started when she was a child watching the expert craftsmanship of her grandfather’s work with wood and metals.

She said: “I used to watch him work and had a go at making things myself, such as bird boxes and dolls houses.

“My boyfriend, whom I’ve known since school, is a joiner in his dad’s business so he also encouraged me to go into joinery. I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship and its definitely an area I would like to work in.”

The company decided to offer Courtney the opportunity after being impressed by her attitude and drive.

Kevin Dodds, who is part of the G F Tomlinson team which looks after the company’s skills and training function, said: “Courtney showed great initiative in contacting our company to enquire about work experience and I’m thrilled she is enjoying her apprenticeship so much.

“The opportunities we offer are very important as we work towards producing the next generation of construction industry tradespeople and professionals.”

Courtney, who attended Da Vinci Community School in Derby, added: “I’d thought about joinery and was going to enrol onto a full-time college course when I left school. But first, off my own bat, I got in touch with G F Tomlinson to see if they offered work experience.

“They invited me to come and see them and have a go – and I absolutely loved it.”

Beyond her entry into joinery, Courtney has her sights set on becoming a site manager or contracts manger.

For now, she is relishing the opportunity to get her hands dirty and challenge any preconceptions about women in the industry.

Courtney said: “I’m the only girl out of 21 joinery students in my college group but that’s ok. There’s some heavy lifting in my work but I can do it – and I’m gaining some muscle.

“I’d say joinery is a good job for a girl as long as you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty, but it’s quite full-on and I’ve broken a few finger nails at work.”

To find out more about working with GF Tomlinson, visit