Rihoy & Son is Guernsey’s largest building contractor, celebrating a century, and we are proud of our track record in developing skills and nurturing talent within the island’s construction industry.

To mark National Careers Week, and in recognition of our milestone anniversary, we’re presenting a special Q&A featuring the newest and longest serving members of Rihoy & Son's Joinery workshop team: Alex Vidamour, a first-year apprentice, and Mike Robins, known as ‘Gorby’ to his workmates, who has been with the business for 36 years.

From Alex's fresh perspectives and aspirations to Mike's wealth of knowledge and experience, we can gain valuable insights into the construction industry over the years, highlighting Rihoy & Son's rich legacy and provide inspiring visions for the future.

  1. Hi Alex, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

    I am 19 years old and left school 6 months ago. This is my first full time job, which I am really enjoying getting stuck into. In my spare time I enjoy F1 and cycling.

  2. What inspired you to pursue a career in joinery, and how did you hear about Rihoy & Son?

    Both of my uncles work in joinery, one is a manager at Acorn while the other owns Paul’s joinery and they inspired me to pursue a career in joinery. I learned about Rihoy & Son from Alan Murphy, the Health and Safety Manager, during one of our runs together. I mentioned my job search to him, and he directed me to the company.

  3. As a new apprentice, what do you find most enjoyable about the work?

    I love learning new things, as this is my first year it is all new at the moment. I’m enjoying learning everything there is to know about joinery! I also like that I am trusted to be left to do certain tasks and do my own thing as I feel that really lets me grow in my role.

  4. What advice would you give to other young individuals considering a career in joinery or a similar trade?

    I would say, know what you’re getting into. It’s a 4-year commitment which is a long time. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the work involved and that you find it interesting. I have been lucky to have family members in the same industry to ask for insight into what I was applying for, however, do your research before making any decisions.

  5. How do you feel about being part of Rihoy & Son’s 100th year celebration, and what are your aspirations for your future within the company?

    It’s nice to be a part of as it’s a big celebration. My aspiration would be to really work hard and finish my apprenticeship.

  6. Could you share a memorable experience or project you’ve worked on since joining Rihoy & Son? 

    My most memorable experience here would be the first project I worked on. I suppose everyone always remembers the first project they’ve completed as it’s a real accomplishment. The first project I worked on was some door lining with my colleague Jacob. Another memorable project I’ve worked on would be the big oak frames we did for C. A. Duquemin but they and I really enjoyed it as everyone got involved and we all work really well as a team.

  1. Congratulations Mike on being the longest-serving member of Rihoy & Son! What initially drew you to the company, and what has kept you here for so many years?

    I started my first job at another business, and in 1988 when they closed down, Jeremy Rihoy came over to see if he wanted any of the machinery that we had and luckily, he ended up giving a few of us jobs as apprentices. I have stayed here for this long as I enjoy doing what I do, every day is different. I’ve made conservatories, doors, windows, staircases, gates, and lots more! I also enjoy the people I work with, and we all get on really well which always helps.

  2. Over your time at Rihoy & Son, what changes have you seen in the joinery industry / construction industry, and how has the company adapted to these changes?

    I suppose the biggest change would be the tools. When I first started, we used hand powered tools by now everything is battery powered which makes the job a lot quicker and easier to do.

  3. What advice would you offer to younger employees like Alex who are just starting their careers in joinery?

    My advice would be, show some interest. If you need help with anything, ask. A lot of learning the job is watching what the older, more experienced people do and having a genuine interest in the role.

  4. Reflecting on your years of experience, what are some of the most significant lessons you’ve learned about craftsmanship and working in a team?

    I would say that the biggest and most important thing of working in a team is making sure you talk to each other, good communication. Everyone has different ideas and it’s good to get different perspectives. If you don’t work as a team nothing will get done.

  5. How does it feel to be part of such a longstanding and respected company as it celebrates its 100th anniversary, and what do you envision for the future of Rihoy & Son?

    It’s been nice to see the significant growth and change within the company throughout the years. It’s a little bit weird but very good to see apprentices becoming managers and growing with the business. I think there is a very good future for Rihoy & Son, I look forward to seeing and working on the newer and more exciting projects we get every year.

Click here for our latest vacancies and opportunities: rihoy.com/careers

Posted: 4 March 2024