Skills for life this National Apprenticeship Week

From 6-12 February, Thakeham took part in the 16th annual National Apprenticeships Week, an initiative that brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week was ‘Skills for Life’, focusing on the development of an individual’s skills and knowledge to create a talented workforce equipped with future-ready skills.

Thakeham is committed to providing opportunities that allow apprentices to hone their skillset, gain relevant and valuable experiences and nurture an affinity with their discipline to ensure a highly skilled and engaged workforce, now and in the future.

With a successful apprenticeships programme, Thakeham was proud to join this 16th annual celebration of apprenticeships and spoke to some of Thakeham’s current and former apprentices who have chosen this route to pursue their careers in the construction industry about how they’ve benefitted from the experience and their time at Thakeham.

Former Thakeham apprentice, Dom, who is working towards a full qualification as an architect, spoke to us about why he pursued an apprenticeship to gain his qualification, saying,

As an architecture student, I understand the importance of gaining on-the-job experience while studying. That’s why I believe the apprenticeship route is a great option, as it allows me to gain experience and earn a salary at the same time.

I believe there are pros and cons to both university education and apprenticeships, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference and goals. Hopefully initiatives like National Apprenticeships Week can raise awareness of what’s available across the industry apprenticeships-wise and encourage more people to get involved!

Below, current apprentice, Ed, shares his experience so far as an engineering apprentice at Thakeham.

Can you tell us about your background and how you first became interested in civil engineering?

Growing up, we were always renovating the houses we lived in and this is really where my interest in construction started. Then, in year 10, I did work experience at an architect practice which I massively enjoyed but felt that I wanted to incorporate more of my maths and physics knowledge into my job, which is how I realised that I wanted to be a civil engineer.

Following my A Levels, I was lucky enough to do a week of work experience at Thakeham and that just cemented it for me, I was completely sure I wanted to pursue a career in Civil Engineering and am really glad that I’m able to do my apprenticeship here too.

Tell us about your work experience at Thakeham and how you decided an apprenticeship was the path you wanted to take.

I was really impressed that the week had been structured to give me experience in each department of the business and was amazed by the fact that people were taking time out their day, even lunch hours, to talk me through their job roles and responsibilities.

I then got the opportunity to interview for an apprenticeship at Thakeham and, once I’d secured a course at my chosen university, London South Bank & Brighton University, they formally offered me a contract. The HR and Engineering departments supported me throughout the application process as well which was so valuable.

What does a typical day as an apprentice civil engineer look like for you?

It’s hard to say what a typical day looks like really because I get to do a lot of different things throughout the week, from being out on site to designing plans on CAD. However, my day will usually start with a quick meeting with my line manager James to discuss what my goals for the week ahead will be and look through my to do list.

How does the apprenticeship program benefit your career development?

I am 6 months into a 5-year Civil engineering degree apprenticeship and, at the end of it, I will have not only a degree but 5 years’ experience in the industry already, which will be so beneficial to my employability. Juggling the apprenticeship and studying has also really increased my confidence and demonstrated my ability to adapt.

How do you balance your on-the-job training and formal education requirements?

My line manager and the whole team is very supportive and allow me some flexibility around university deadlines. It’s also really helpful that my training at work correlates with off-the-job training perfectly so that my assignments are aligned with what I’m doing at work.

What skills has the apprenticeship allowed you to develop to prepare you for post-apprenticeship life?

Lots of skills but a few that stand out are attention to detail, which is really essential, time management and organisation.

What are your long-term career goals?

In terms of academics, I want to achieve a first in my Civil Engineering degree. Post-graduation, the goal will be to become an engineering manager at a construction company such as Thakeham. I’m also aiming to become a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Sarah Crush, Social Value Manager at Thakeham, said:

We are thrilled to support the growth and advancement of our apprentices and celebrate their achievements during National Apprenticeship Week. Apprenticeships provide a valuable and practical route for those seeking careers in the construction industry and we are proud to play a role in building future generations.

For more information about Careers at Thakeham, please visit the careers page.

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