The Barham Park Apprentice now Building her Future with Countryside


Karen Wass, a single mother from Shepherd’s Bush, has been taken on full-time as a trainee site manager by Countryside, a leading UK home builder specialising in place making and urban regeneration.

Karen, 42, was originally a placement worker at Construction Training Initiative (CTI), a Notting Hill Housing programme which offers work placement opportunities and support in the construction industry.

Having been successfully accepted onto the CTI in 2014, her first placement was on a small development in the London Borough of Ealing. She managed to maintain her commitment whilst juggling childcare commitments, as well as always prompting her supervisor for more work, consistently impressing the management team on site.

Having spent a valuable amount of time working on site, Karen was referred by the CTI for an NVQ Level 2, which they funded and Karen successfully completed. Karen’s final placement with the CTI was at Barham Park, a Notting Hill Housing and Countryside regeneration project in Brent, with Brendan Flynn Carpentry.

Karen expressed an early interest in site management with Countryside during her placement at Barham Park, and following close observation by the management team Karen was offered and accepted a permanent contract of employment with Countryside in ‘trainee management.’

Karen Wass
Karen Wass, Trainee Site Manager

Karen Wass, Trainee Site Manager at Countryside Partnerships South said:  “While I always knew I wanted to get involved in site management, I was completely shocked when Countryside offered me the job – I could not believe my luck!

It is a great place to work, and they have been so supportive of my career, especially as a single mother. I’d definitely recommend the CTI to anyone interested in construction – they gave me an opportunity to start working on site that I thought that finished.”

Robert Wilkinson, Managing Director for East London at Countryside Partnerships South said: “Young people are finding vocational training an increasingly attractive and cost-effective alternative to an academic route, and we are proud to be a committed supporter of apprenticeships like the CTI which put improved life prospects for local people as part of the wider regeneration process.” 

With 26 years’ experience of undertaking Local Labour in Construction schemes on our major estate regeneration projects, we are proud of our employment target of 15% local labour, and success stories like Karen’s justify these goals. We wish her all the best in her career with us.”

John Hughes, Group Development Director from Notting Hill Housing said: “We have had many success stories through the scheme of steering better lives for so many and Karen most certainly stands out as one of the wonderful ambassadors for CTI.

Karen has been a pleasure to work with, always smiling, always willing to overcome obstacles and a really hard worker, genuine and an excellent communicator. 

She has always been motivated and I don’t think she will stop at being contented with becoming a trainee assistant site manager.”