Former apprentice rises to the top to become head of construction for house-building firm

A former Wigan borough apprentice who worked his way up the ranks of a home-building firm is now replacing his mentor at the helm.

By Gaynor Clarke
Sunday, 8th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Shaun Phoenix has been appointed as head of construction for Redrow Lancashire as Keith Collard retires as construction director after almost four decades.

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Shaun, 44, began as an apprentice joiner aged 16 and his rise to the top has seen him take on the roles of site manager, project manager and area construction manager, all with Redrow Lancashire.

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Keith Collard officially “hands over the hard hat” to Shaun Phoenix, Redrow Lancashire’s new head of construction

On taking the reins from Keith, he said: “It will certainly be big boots to fill. Keith has been my mentor for such a long time and I look forward to continuing to instil the core values he maintained of quality and teamwork.”

Shaun describes himself as a hands-on person and a strong team player, having played rugby league for many years, so believes he was destined for a career in construction.

He added: “I’ve never been afraid to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in so I’m looking forward to the challenge my new role will bring.”

During his career Shaun, who hails from Leigh, has won eight Pride in the Job “Quality” awards, a Seal of Excellence and two commendations for health and safety from the National House Building Council.

Bowing out after 17 years as construction director, Keith, from Wigan, has also enjoyed a long house-building career.

He began his working life labouring on construction sites and then as a forklift driver, before joining Redrow as a trainee assistant site manager in 1989.

The 58-year-old said: “It’s been a privilege to work with some great people over the years and build some long-standing relationships with our suppliers and sub-contractors as well as giving new people opportunities to grow their career or, in the case of local subcontractors, their businesses. Redrow is like a family and loyalty always goes two ways.”

Keith’s loyalty and hard work earned him a special achievement award at the company’s Building Responsible Awards in 2019. The accolade honoured his outstanding career, during which he has supported more than 100 apprentices.

Keith added: “Every one of the decades, every one of the years, has been an absolute delight. I am proud to work for a company with such a reputation not only for building homes with such quality, but for building and nurturing its staff in the same way – and it’s that which I treasure being a part of most.

“As much as I enjoy my job, the pleasure comes from seeing young people come through the ranks like I did; and helping apprentices and site managers to develop their own careers and reach their potential. I’m delighted that Shaun, a former apprentice, will be taking the reins. I know he’ll be 110 per cent committed, fulfil everything he needs to and be a credit to the company.”

Claire Jarvis, managing director for Redrow Lancashire, said: “It’s with sadness we say farewell to Keith, one of Redrow’s most highly respected colleagues, who has served the Lancashire division for almost 40 years. Fortunately, we have Shaun, an experienced and talented member of the team, to head up the department and I am confident he will meet every challenge head on.”