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Matthew Cousins

Exeter is often described as a friendly city, full of opportunity, and nobody epitomises that more so than Matthew Cousins. Commercial director of APEX Scaffolding (you’ll have seen the signs throughout the city propping up some of our most iconic buildings, such as the Cathedral and Sandy Park Hotel), Matthew has lived in the city since he was three, so we figured if we want to know what it is that makes Exeter special, he’s a good person to talk to.

Growing up at the top of Pennsylvania, it’s been interesting for Matthew to watch the city evolve throughout his life. He now resides in Redhills so gets to enjoy our beautiful sunrises and sunsets from the opposite side of the River Exe. Working with APEX means that he gets to enjoy those views from height, something which he says is a real privilege.

Matt says that he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else now and that one of the things that he appreciates so much about the city is its desire to continually improve itself.

He says: ‘I love the fact we are becoming more cosmopolitan but still keeping the small city feel. I have heard some people describe Exeter as a city with the feel of a village. I think that creates a great atmosphere when you know people. The other thing I love about the city is the green hills. It is quite comforting to have the hills around you at all times.’

Like so many others across the city, Matthew wasn’t happy to sit around during lockdown, and soon started volunteering at the Exeter City football ground, St James Park. If he’s not watching the football at the weekend, he’ll be at Sandy Park cheering on the rugby instead and whilst he doesn’t play either sport, he does keep himself fit by playing baseball for the Exeter Spitfires.

And whilst Matthew might not have dreamt that he’d still be working in the scaffolding industry since becoming an apprentice at APEX in 2001, he says it makes him a great person to help others who might not be certain of their career path, and Matthews works with Building Greater Exeter to help youngsters realise what they could also achieve in the construction industry.

He says: ‘Construction was probably not my first choice of career, but circumstances meant that I had to make the best of it. I was quite lucky and took some opportunities at the right time. It makes for a great case study when I am talking to young people about starting apprenticeships, showing them what they could also achieve.’

And whilst you might think that being APEX’s commercial director and board member at Building Greater Exeter would keep Matthew busy, he’s also recently been made a board member at Exeter Chamber.

So why is it so important to have a chamber in Exeter?

Matthew answered: ‘Having a chamber is important to all business communities, and I think this is even more so in Exeter. All the studies have shown that Exeter is continuing to grow, and even if this isn’t directly related to the chamber, it certainly helps to pull everyone together.

‘If the chamber is successful, then the city is successful, if the city is successful then ALL the businesses in the city are successful.’