BLOG: Building up to my next step on the construction career ladder | Wates

“Was an apprenticeship the right choice? Yes – it was the best decision I could have made, and here’s why. From day one I’ve been exposed to so many different aspects of construction and had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects.

On top of the exposure I’m getting to the industry, the bonus for me is that I’m also earning qualifications at the same time – I’m currently working towards my BTEC in Construction and will qualify with a Level 3 in Built Environment (BE) from Croydon College this September.

I started my apprenticeship after leaving college, following a short stint as an Assistant Security Systems Installer. Realising this wasn’t my forever job, I started looking into other options and came across the Apprentice Planner role. The description immediately caught my eye, as it’s all the things I enjoy: logistics, problem solving and variety!

I secured the position with Wates through CoTrain, a partnership apprenticeship scheme in the South East co-funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Now based in the Wates’ Basingstoke office, which is conveniently just 30 minutes from Newbury where I live, I’ve been working on a number of different planning projects – from leisure centres to offices and school buildings.

My role involves working on a wide variety of logistics plans, phasing plans and bids. I was interested in Planning specifically because of the variety it offers – I wanted to gain a wider breadth of project experience than I might in other areas. The process for every building project differs greatly from the last which I find fascinating.

One of the biggest projects I’ve worked on was the much-anticipated Braywick Leisure Centre development. The new £32.8 million leisure centre in Maidenhead, due to open at the end of 2020, will feature top-class facilities; such as a 10-lane swimming pool, 200-station gym, and sports hall. Other projects I’ve worked on include Little Heath School in Reading and the Matthew Arnold School in Surrey.

For me, an apprenticeship was the right choice because the prospect of continuing studying beyond A-levels just didn’t appeal. While university is a great route for some – many of my friends included – I personally felt than an apprenticeship would better equip me with the specific skills and knowledge I was looking for. Some jobs will require a degree, but I feel many qualifications leave you no further along in your hunt for a job. I feel like I’ve been given a headstart.

So would I recommend an apprenticeship to other people? Absolutely! For anyone who doesn’t fancy another three years of pure education, I would suggest they explore their apprenticeship options. The combination of learning and practical experience has really helped me to embed myself within the industry. As a result, I feel that I’m going to come out the other side far more equipped and up-to-speed with the industry that I’m going to be working in. While my friends from school are just finishing up at Uni on the lookout for jobs, I already have a wealth of experience and now I’m ‘building’ up to my next big role in the world of construction – a trainee programme.”

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