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Recruitment Drive For Apprentices

1 July 2013

Costain is in the process of implementing a series of Group wide initiatives aimed at strengthening its Apprentice Scheme and increasing its focus on technical training and the professionalism of its engineering community.

The initiatives, which include recruiting more apprentices in a wider choice of disciplines as well as a sharper focus on training and leadership throughout the business and supply chain, are all in line with Engineering Tomorrow, the Company’s strategy to identify, develop and implement innovative solutions to meet the UK’s major national infrastructure needs.

As part of its aim to develop a workforce that is ready to meet the changing needs of its customers, the Company plans to launch a new Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) accredited Level 5 Leadership Programme, which will provide a solid foundation for the development of middle and senior managers across the business.

“As an Approved Training Centre for the ILM, Costain already delivers, with the help of the National Construction College, the Level 3 Award to supervisory level, and these improvements will benefit not only individual employees, but will also be felt at the project, sector and national level as well,” said Jon Spencer, Costain’s Group Training Manager.

The Company also plans to implement an accelerated version of its Project Leadership Academy with 30 candidates studying for the Association of Project Management Professionals (APMP) examination from disciplines as varied as Finance and Training. Costain also expects to have 25 project management professionals targeting Registered Professional Status (RPP) with the Association of Project Management, to enhance continued professional development and to keep ahead of the demands of customers such as BAA, United Utilities and Network Rail.

Investing in young people and helping the industry address the long-term skills shortage is an integral component of Engineering Tomorrow. For apprentices, there will be a renewed focus on new and existing apprenticeship frameworks and Costain’s internal Qualification and Credit Framework (NVQ) Centre will support the Company’s competence strategy across its contracts. These initiatives will be overseen respectively by Caroline Tower, the Company’s new Apprentice Manager, and Ivan Vukomanovic the NVQ Centre Manager.

Now in its third year, the Costain Apprentice Scheme delivers excellent training and employment opportunities to young people seeking a career in the construction and engineering industry. The Scheme is linked to the Princes Trust and Construction Youth Trust, and now has over 60 apprentices working across the business, covering 11 disciplines like administration, accountancy, rail track and signalling, in addition to those traditional construction related opportunities.

Costain also plans to recruit more students into a greater diversity of disciplines through its Sponsored Student Programme and Graduate Development Programme, including a new technical stream and the sponsorship of power graduates through the Power Academy.

“This year we have recruited in new graduates and disciplines such as Computer Science, Business Management and English. In addition, we are working to increase our capabilities in mechanical and electrical engineering and look forward to working as a partner company of the Power Academy,” said Camilla Duncan, Costain’s Graduate Development Officer.

The Company’s supply chain will also benefit from these initiatives. Through the first round of the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills initiative, Costain has been able to secure matched funding of half a million pounds which it plans to direct towards new apprentice frameworks, the further development of SMEs within its supply chain, and the improvement of its leadership and management skills.

Looking to Round 2 of the Employer Ownership of Skills initiative, a number of National Skills Academies have also embraced the initiative and if they are successful with their individual applications then Costain can look forward to working with them within its specific sectors of Rail, Nuclear and Power for the benefit of our employees and supply chain.

“Although the detailed delivery has been demanding we’re really encouraged by the response in Round 1 and we look forward to developing it further in Round 2. This additional financial resource, linked by government to the employer rather than the training provider, has enabled Costain to increase the support of its supply chain beyond our traditional level of about 30% towards 50% during the early part of 2013. This achievement has direct benefit for our clients and the improved competency of our overall workforce,” said Jon Spencer.