Giving The Next Generation A Step Up


Josh grew up in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, and was a student at Ellon Academy. Aged 17, he began his degree at Robert Gordons University, studying Architectural Technology.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching YouTube videos of cool residential builds and even as a young teen, architecture really interested me,” explains Josh. “At school, I really enjoyed Graphic Communications and learning all about AutoCad so it was just a natural progression from there.”

Josh has maintained his part time job at Newburgh’s convenience store for 3 years whilst completing his studies. Usually, Josh’s course would bring about the opportunity for work placements relevant to his degree. However, due to Covid, these were cancelled.

Josh took the initiative to seek out a work placement in the final months of his studies himself and began with Steel and Cladding company, KR Group, in May. He has since learned all about steelwork, cladding, facades and the processes of the industry.

“My time at KR Group has been even more valuable than anticipated. Being able to learn from a complex team and having the support of people with all this knowledge and experience behind them. If I ever struggled with something, I had a tight network there always happy to help.”

On Josh’s last day, the team took time for a fly cup and a chat about his future. “I just had a fitting for my graduation kilt. It’s crazy to think that part of my journey is finished and I’m graduating next week.

Covid hit at the start of my second year, so it’s been really challenging but I got there.”

“I’d like to find somewhere where I can be creative and enjoy myself, get stuck in and learn the ropes,” explains Josh. “I can see myself in residential work, but I do like commercial.”

When asked where he’d like to be in 5 years, Josh said “I don’t know where I’ll be, but I’d like to help people beginning their career where possible. I feel I am where I am thanks to the help I got from others, so it’s important to carry that on.”

With a similar ethos to this is Kenny, KR Group’s Business Director. He left school with little support and qualifications, so knows the significance a helping hand can have. Kenny and Nicola, KR Group’s Directors, both invest a lot of time into working with schools and young people looking to pursue a career in construction. 18% of KR Group’s workforce is in ‘earn and learn’ roles such as traineeships, apprenticeships, and internships.



“Josh has really excelled in his time here,” says Kenny. “He’s a very bright and creative individual with bags of potential. We wish him all the best with his graduation and his next steps. He has a bright future ahead. We might even be constructing one of his designs one day.”

Next week, at 21 years old, Josh graduates and receives his BA (Hons) in Architectural Technology. He is now working on finishing his portfolio and will soon begin applying for jobs in Glasgow.

“Thank you so much to Kenny and Nicola for the opportunity to learn in a working environment. I’ve really enjoyed myself and have learned a lot thanks to the great team that supported me, especially Greg, Barry, and my peer-mentor Lyall. The placement has opened my eyes to the industry’s potential and has prepared me for the future and my career.”