As well as the more traditional young male school leavers or college graduates, the scheme is also open to older apprentices looking for a fresh start and women wanting to carve out a career in the industry.
Working on a major project in Scotland, 47 year old Stuart Reid has changed his career and is now training as an electrician through Balfour Beatty’s apprenticeship scheme. In the second year of a four year apprenticeship, Stuart is learning a new trade and skills combining both theory and valuable practical experience.
‘I had previously worked as an AA Patrolman and was looking for a new challenge. As one of 20 apprentices on the site, it’s a huge learning process but if you are a good listener, interested and keen to learn then you can thrive,’ said Stuart.
Having received the honour of being named Apprentice of the Year whilst working for Engineering Construction, Scotland, 26 year old electrician Kerry Todd’s career is showing the fruits of her valuable training, with a key role in the turnaround team on a major petro-chemical project.
‘Throughout my apprenticeship, I worked with electricians who were highly experienced at their job. Through on site training on a wide variety of different jobs and projects, they helped me learn my trade to a high standard,’ explained Kerry. ‘This on site practical training was accompanied by a combination of a college course and a training instructor visiting me to assess progress on my log book. I was also supported throughout my apprenticeship by supervisors and management anytime I needed help or guidance regarding any aspect of my job.’
Balfour Beatty’s apprenticeships last between two and four years and participants can achieve NVQ 2 or 3 in their chosen discipline. The apprentices are day released to colleges to learn their trades and disciplines and return to their regional sites to consolidate and put their skills to use on current projects.
‘These apprenticeships can provide people with the foundation they need to excel,’ commented Simon Lafferty, Balfour Beatty engineering construction managing director. ‘The benefit to our business is clear. We are able to place people in the business who we know to be experienced and competent.’
The apprenticeship scheme is creating highly skilled people who may lead Balfour Beatty projects in the future. Many of the directors and managers in Balfour Beatty started their careers with the company as trainees or apprentices.
Balfour Beatty sponsors a wide range of apprenticeships across a broad range of disciplines, including electrical mechanical engineering, plumbing, utilities, high-voltage engineering, construction and civil engineering.
The Balfour Beatty apprenticeship scheme is further proof that partnerships between business and academia can provide real rewards for businesses that are serious about nurturing talent and developing tomorrow’s leaders.