Apprenticeship and graduate schemes are on the up. All of the large international construction corporations offer ‘get paid to learn’ schemes of one kind or another. Many offer several tiers from initial school leaver programs to intermediate and higher level schemes leading to professional qualifications. Most of the programs include some study with a local college or university. And many of the companies also offer help for those at the higher levels to obtain qualifications that will be recognised by professional bodies.
Areas covered include business management, engineering, planning and quantity surveying. These days all of the areas seem to be open to women as well as men.
In the UK
The three main political parties in the UK’s up-coming general election are all supporting apprenticeships, especially in engineering. Engineering covers many industries and the Royal Academy of Engineers acknowledges that by 2020 there will be a ‘skill gap’ of 50,000. That’s a big gap to fill. Meanwhile the Labour party claim that they will introduce 80,000 new apprenticeships with 33,000 of these destined for hands-on work on HS2.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has responded to industry requests for higher apprenticeships in the area of Construction Business Management. There are four levels available working with specialised universities and colleges.
Top 10 construction apprenticeships
Not surprisingly Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Skanska come near the top of companies offering great programs in areas of quantity surveying and engineering. Here’s the top 10 in no particular order:
- At Skanska they seem to encourage all levels to develop their professional expertise. Existing employees have switched from administrative jobs to quantity surveying, and others have come in to specifically take advantage of their training program.
- Balfour Beatty’s policy covers both technical skills which includes engineering and business management, which is where quantity surveying fits.
- Mott MacDonald’s program offers opportunities in engineering and business subjects and includes support from their Academy. They also offer opportunities for graduates in Hong Kong.
- The Arup Group focuses on planning and engineering with opportunities in the UK, Europe, Asia and America. Arup is recognised as one of the UK’s top apprentice employers.
- At Amey apprentices and graduates take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Business Award as well as hands on and academic studies. Apprenticeships are on three levels- Intermediate, Advanced and Higher. Graduates joining Amey are offered two opportunities - a Management Development Program or a Pathways Program which takes them straight into roles working on projects as soon as they start.
- Look to WSP for civil engineering or building service engineering programs. WSP are one of the founder members of the Technician Apprenticeship Consortium. Graduates are mentored and have the support of the WSP University while they undertake training modules alongside on-the-job experience.
- Atkins engineering apprenticeship program in the UK offers two levels - advanced and higher, and leads to a professional qualification. ‘A worthwhile alternative to a university degree’ is how they describe it. Throughout the program there are opportunities to explore different disciplines, projects and locations.
- The Costain Group offers both apprenticeships and graduate programs. Apprentices follow a hands-on and college program in various aspects of engineering, while graduates have several engineering opportunities and quantity surveying paths to follow. The graduate program includes a number of training modules.
- Join Carillion plc for graduate training in engineering, quantity surveying and more. Their two year program includes support for gaining professional memberships – this includes financial support as well as mentoring. Joining their graduate program also offers many other perks.
- Lovell offer an apprenticeship program in basic construction skills. They also offer a scholarship to undergraduates taking relevant subjects at university. The scholarship includes a £2,000 per year bursary and paid summer work in year three. Graduates will start on a two year program following their chosen discipline with opportunities to spend placements in other areas of the business for an all-round understanding.
Have we missed any out? If we have, we would love to hear your comments.