Rihoy & Son is one of Guernsey’s longest established building contractors; family owned and run for the past 90 years.

With more than 180 staff, the company not only offers apprenticeships predominantly in carpentry, trowel trade and painting and decorating, but also provides A-level graduates with BTECs in site engineering and quantity surveying.

The island’s leading construction firm, which has been involved with many of Guernsey’s most prestigious developments, currently employs 12 apprentices, continues to invest in management development programmes and seeks to identify potential future foremen and site managers from within its workforce.

Rihoy & Son looks to recruit between two and three new apprentices each year.

There are benefits to being employed by a well-established company with 180 plus employees. Rihoy & Son also has its own joinery workshop that manufactures bespoke pieces to meet the individual needs of clients.

Gavin Rihoy, managing director, said Rihoy & Son was the first local building contractors to attain Chartered Building Company status.

‘We have maintained this accreditation by providing clients with excellent results and constantly furthering the training and education of our employees.

‘This applies both to those at managerial level and to those specialising in a trade.’  

Many of the company’s employees hold accreditation from professional bodies such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Chartered Institute of Building and the British Institute of Facilities Management, as well as further education qualifications in fields such as engineering.

Mike Veron, HR manager, said the recruitment process for apprentices takes place in May and June.

‘Rihoy & Son not only offers career progression within the one business, but also job stability as a larger company with years of experience in the island and a solid management structure.

‘We are looking for potential apprentices with reasonable literacy and numeracy skills. They need to be craft orientated and have a genuine interest in the construction industry.

‘Apprentice hopefuls need to work well with other people as part of a team and must be prepared to continue with education through the Guernsey College of Further Education’s apprenticeship scheme.’

Apprentices usually join the company from one of the island’s high schools. A-level leavers are also recruited and tend to go on to take BTECs.

The ethos behind Rihoy and Son, in terms of recruitment, is to continue to grow the business from within. Site management training is provided at a higher level by the Chartered Institute of Building in conjunction with the Guernsey College of Further Education.

‘We concentrate on training local people who have an opportunity to progress their career, not only by gaining experience and knowledge on the job, but by also undertaking further qualifications,’ said Mr Veron. 

Historically, Rihoy & Son employees have been very loyal to the firm. The youngest member of staff is 16 and the oldest is nearing retirement.

‘We have people working at Rihoy & Son who have done so for more than 30 years. We even had a chap who joined the company straight after leaving school and stayed with us until the day he retired,’ said Mr Veron.

‘The loyalty of staff is further evidence that there are plenty of progression opportunities within the business and the company offers job security in what can be a very transient industry.’

Dave Tostevin has been with the company for 34 years. He started at Rihoy & Son as an apprentice carpenter in 1979. Following his five-year apprenticeship he took a further two-year course and progressed to site manager and then onto labour manager. In 2003 he was made contracts director.

‘I first joined the company through the late Harry Finn, who was labour manager at the time, while I played football for North who we still sponsor today,’ said Mr Tostevin.

As well as the staff on the many sites Rihoy & Son is involved with, including One St Julian’s Avenue and Le Grand Courtil, there is a team of more than 20 in the office responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of the business.

Rihoy & Son is also very supportive of the work experience scheme in the island.

Mr Veron said it is part of the company culture.

‘We always support the work experience scheme when we can. In fact, we probably have up to four work experience participants each year. We regularly recruit those who have done their work experience placement with us.’

Rihoy & Son is also a big supporter of local sport sponsoring: Northerners AFC, Guernsey FC, Guernsey College Football Academy, Ihla Futebol Academy, Guernsey Rugby Academy Youth Squad, Guernsey Sports Commission Rising Stars, Elizabeth College Football 1st XI and Royal Guernsey Golf Club.

Overseas, the company funds the Ellen Jane Rihoy Trust, which helps to improve the livelihoods and opportunities of some of the world’s most impoverished and marginalised communities.

Posted: 2 April 2014