Young apprentice-turned-supervisor grasps chance with Tarmac and is paying it back by the shovel-load 

April 12, 2022

At one stage in his young life, Shahid Zaman – he freely admits – was heading down the wrong road. Bad decisions and running with the wrong crowd led to a custodial sentence. It is something of which he is not proud. It is something he has put behind him.

He emerged from prison a changed young man, determined to walk a different path and adamant that he would never again serve time.

Shahid scouted around his home city, Birmingham, looking for a new purpose in life; something that wouldn’t take him too far away from his family in Small Heath – the area in which he’d grown up.

He found Tarmac. And with it, new purpose in life, new direction, new promise.

Having started just over a year ago working as an apprentice operative at Tarmac’s asphalt plant, he has already been promoted to supervisor, taking the next strides in what he hopes will be a long and successful career with the UK’s leading construction materials company.

“My role is very varied. I can be in the mixing room or oversee train deliveries that come onto site. No two days are the same and I like that variety.

“I love a challenge. I have shocked myself over how well I have done here so far. I didn’t expect to be so confident in my job role to the extent that I am starting to look for new challenges and to take on greater responsibility.”

Shahid, just one of the young apprentices fronting Tarmac’s early careers recruitment campaign, says his work colleagues keep him grounded and help him in his career development.

“Although I’m 25, which is older than a lot of apprentices, I am still one of the youngest on site and it is the more experienced hands around me that I can turn to for help. Working alongside people that are older than me gives a good balance. Collaboration is key.

“Rhys Mills [another apprentice operative] and I joined at the same time and are learning together,” says Shahid. “We can share thoughts on how to do things whenever we are taught something new. We joined during the site’s commissioning phase just over a year ago.

“But I am also learning a lot from more experienced workmates. Darren Hemmings has been in the asphalt business for a long time and his experience has helped me with my confidence.

“I have set myself goals – particularly in project management. I would love to come up with ideas to improve the work we do, whether it be innovation or better use of materials. I want to benefit the company.”

Shahid also wants to be able to take his experiences into schools and colleges to help steer young minds away from making those wrong decisions he took as a youth.

“I would like to be able to go to schools, colleges and even young offenders’ institutions to show young people that there is an alternative to a life of crime on the streets. Look at me.

“I think, having been through all that, my message holds a lot more weight. It might be hard work but it’s worth it. If it comes to you too easily, then it’s not worth having.

“My advice? Be yourself. Use your experiences – good and bad – and use that as motivation to better yourself. Don’t let bad experiences hold you back. Never lie about the bad times.

“When I first spoke to Tarmac, I was very open about it. They said they wanted to help me with my progression so that instantly got my respect for the business. It has helped me to overcome the challenges of my past.

“Tarmac has given me the chance to prove myself and – hopefully – I am now paying them back.”

See the Early Careers video, featuring Shahid Zaman here.