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Rapidly growing business


What is it like to run your own business? We asked one ex-student of East Riding College’s Construction Department, Joe Oliver of Oaks of Beverley.

In the two years since Joe Oliver graduated from East Riding College, he has not only started a business, but now employs others and is considering diversifying still further. “My tutor Craig Leach encouraged me to feel that I could achieve anything I wanted to, and that carpentry & joinery is a passion, not just a career,” Joe Oliver says. IOC College Liaison Officer Craig Leach is one of those rare individuals whose ability to inspire others has seen him become a finalist in the UK Construction Week Construction Role Model competition several times to date.

Joe Oliver continues:  “I enjoyed bench joinery at college and that’s what I decided to specialise in. When I left college I worked for others initially, then decided I could do better by developing my own business; by that time, I’d seen what a good company and a bad company looked like. There seemed to be plenty of local interest in fitted furniture and cabinetry, but initially, I wasn’t sure how to go about setting up a business. I talked to one person I’d formerly worked for and we put our heads together and created a business concept based on my vision of what I wanted to achieve. I’m passionate about creating top quality joinery for customers. 

“The business started in March 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to hit hard, but we were still doing two jobs per week of very high-end work from the outset. We created an upmarket-looking website with photos of our work, as first impressions really count when you’re pitching for high value jobs. We also designed a logo for our van and clothing, to give customers confidence in the quality we can offer. I’m now employing six people in a factory, some of them a lot older than I am, but we all share a passion for working with wood and turning out top quality workmanship. That’s where I’m able to connect with the older people I employ: we all share that common interest in projecting our craftsmanship. 

“I knew there would be long hours involved in running my own business but not quite as long as they’ve been recently! We’ve now built a showroom at the factory and we use Facebook and Instagram to build up our social media profile and to drive business. In the future, we plan to branch into other areas of the top end interior joinery market and beyond, into specialised work like bespoke furniture. East Rising College encouraged me to know that I could take my wood skills, spread my wings and achieve anything I wanted to, with hard work and concentrated studying and that’s exactly what I’ve done,” Joe Oliver proudly affirms. Visit Joe’s company website oaksofbeverley to see just how far the company has come. 

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