Phil Mudd, Principal Trainer and Assessor at Hull Training Hub

Phil Mudd, Principal Trainer and Assessor at Hull Training Hub
Phil Mudd
Job Title
Principal Trainer and Assessor at Hull Training Hub


Thanks to the success of the training hubs in Tamworth, Cambridge and Newcastle, NHBC’s fourth Bricklaying hub opened in Hull in September 2023. We spoke to Phil Mudd, Principal Trainer and Assessor at the new hub to find out more about his role, his career in construction and why he finds teaching so rewarding.

About Phil

Phil is from Hull and has over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. After leaving school he joined a three-year City and Guild’s apprenticeship, staying on for a fourth advanced craft year.

He then joined a partnership for a small construction business undertaking maintenance, renovations, alterations and much more. As part of this business Phil was able to work with people coming into bricklaying and found the chance to pass on his knowledge and skills extremely rewarding. This led him to develop his career and learn new training skills before joining NHBC in July 2023.

Phil puts his extensive construction experience to use at home too as he is a regular DIY’er and keen gardener. He also enjoys travelling and discovering new places.

About the hub

NHBC took an innovative approach to its training hubs by concentrating specifically on what the house-building industry needed and ensuring brickwork apprentices had the key skills to be productive on site right away.

Phil was involved with the Hull Training Hub from an early stage, including kitting out the venue and setting up the working areas.

He said ‘It’s been great to be involved with this hub early on and I’ve benefitted from the learnings we’ve gained from the other hubs. Being the fourth one has meant I’ve been able to draw on the experiences of the other Principal Tutors, as well as many other colleagues at NHBC, to really understand what house builders are looking for and what apprentices need at the start of their careers.

And, just like the other hubs, here at Hull we’ll be working in block rather than day release, which I think really benefits the students. Not only does it mean we can run an accelerated programme so that students can complete in 18 months, but I also think it works well for them on programme too. I find that having a week with a student gives you a lot more time to cover things in more detail, really cement that knowledge and ensure there is greater consistency in their work.’

A day at the Hull Hub

We asked Phil what a regular day at Hull might involve. Phil said ‘So there are practical aspects like getting students signed in and, of course, health and safety which is paramount.

Once we’ve got into the day properly we‘ll have a group briefing where we’ll talk about aims for the day and set objectives. We’ll look at each student’s level. It’s important for us to support anyone who is struggling and we do regular check-ins to help people improve but we’ll also consider something more challenging if a student is capable. I think it’s important to keep challenging people to get the best out of them and develop their skills.

Depending on the day we might also do demonstrations where we’ll show the students a new process or technique, but every day closes with an overview of what’s been learned and a review of what’s been achieved. Again, I think that’s very important to reinforce learning and give the apprentices confidence in their own work.’

Motivation and inspiration

We asked Phil to tell us more about what motivates and inspires him.

Phil said ‘I love to see learners succeed; it’s why I enjoy teaching so much and it’s also why I wanted to join the team at the hub here in Hull. I think passing on much-needed skills and giving people opportunities to learn is incredibly important, as well as being personally rewarding. It’s wonderful to do for others what my teachers did for me – they gave me skills for life for which I will always be grateful.

I also enjoy building teams. I think people can get a lot from working together and it’s satisfying to see a group of students learning collaboratively in a positive environment and encouraging each other through friendly competition.’

Looking ahead

We asked Phil to share his thoughts on what might be on the horizon for the house-building industry and apprenticeships.

Phil said ‘It can feel a bit uncertain in this industry at times but there is a fundamental need for more housing. I read recently that the National Housing Federation estimated 340,000 new homes were needed in England alone each year, so it’s evident the demand is there.

And you also have a high number of people retiring from the industry and from bricklaying in particular, so we really do have a skills gap to plug. That’s why I think NHBC training hubs are crucial as we’re ideally placed to develop highly skilled bricklayers and support the whole house-building industry.

For the hub here in Hull we’re working hard to fill our cohorts so we can train as many bricklayers as possible to meet the needs of the industry. I’d also like to start getting feedback from employers and students too so we can keep improving what we offer.

In the future I’d hope we’d have more hubs as there’s clearly a need to train more bricklayers. It would also be interesting to see if the house builder-led approach could extend to other trades because the construction industry needs to boost the number of people coming in and there are some great opportunities available for people.’

Words of wisdom

We asked Phil if there was one bit of advice he could give to anyone looking at an apprenticeship what would it be?

Phil said ‘Don’t be afraid to try things. It’s important to give things a go, especially if you’re interested in them, and if it turns out that it’s not for you then that’s fine. But it’s crucial to try, and to be enthusiastic yet patient – it takes time to learn skills, but you will get there if you put the effort in.

I’d also say don’t be afraid to ask questions, because if you don’t ask you don’t get!’

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