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Being an Apprentice

Being an Apprentice

Author: David Cassar

For me being an apprentice is a brilliant way of combining both practical experience and technical knowledge. The apprenticeship programme enables young people to receive the best of both in terms of work experience and technical knowledge, unlike the degree route.

I have been doing my apprenticeship for roughly two years. My first year was based doing a business admin level 2 qualification. Once completing that I decided I wanted to gain wider knowledge of the construction industry.

With the support of Costain I was able to enrol onto a construction and the built environment / civil engineering Btec level 3 course. This course is perfect for me because it enables young people like myself, who are interested in the construction industry, to gain a feel for different areas within the construction industry.

For example it enables you to understand basic civil engineering, health and safety, environmental and commercial principals. On completion of this course I will be able to combine my technical knowledge, which I have gained through college, and practical knowledge which I have gained through my time at the Bond Street Station Upgrade project. I will then decide which area of the construction industry I want to specialise in once moving onto further education.

I feel the apprenticeship programme is a great route because it enables young people to gain exposure to practical knowledge which is rarely provided through University.

Involvement of young people in the industry

The involvement of young people within the industry is an issue which is a hot topic at the moment. I feel that young people in schools today do not get provided with enough information about the working environment and about various routes which can be taken through their interest and the subjects which are being taught in schools. I feel this is due to a lack of communication between business and schools. To bridge this gap events similar to the recent 'Big Infrastructure Conversation' need to take place and kids in schools and colleges need to be provided with exposure to various companies similar to Costain. This will provide school and college students with greater understanding of various industries. An issue which was raised during the 'Big Infrastructure Conversation' was that a lot of school kids didn’t understand about the various industries, for example infrastructure. To bridge this gap companies and schools have to work closely together to involve school and college students and provide them with a greater understanding of various industries.

The 'Big Infrastructure Conversation' event

I think the event was of significant value and bridged the gap between young people in schools and companies, enabling both parties to interact and share ideas. It also allowed the school pupils to talk to people like myself and other apprentices and business leaders and gain knowledge on various schemes and pathways which can lead to employment. More events similar to this should take place because it will provide young people in schools with the exposure to information on the working environment which is rarely provided in schools.