BALFOUR Beatty is committed to developing its apprentices to become the next generation of engineers and innovators in the industry. At a recent ‘Investing in our Future’ event, engineering construction our business gathered 59 of its apprentices from projects across the UK to demonstrate the significant potential career opportunities available to them on completion of their apprenticeships.
Simon Lafferty, Balfour Beatty Managing Director Engineering Construction, opened the two day event, which was held at Hillington Park Innovation Centre, Glasgow. As a former Balfour Beatty apprentice, he was able to outline first-hand that with the right commitment and attitude there are no barriers to what apprentices can go on to achieve. Simon, along with other former apprentices who gave an insight to their experiences, opportunities and roles, highlighted the value apprenticeships bring to the industry and reinforced the great importance the business places on recruiting, supporting and developing apprentices.
Seven pupils from Linwood High School were also invited along to the first day of the event. Jaclyn Smith, their technical teacher and STEM ambassador, said, “When students are thinking about their career paths there are a lot of options to consider. Joining the apprentices and meeting the former apprentices gave the pupils a great understanding of what an apprenticeship in the construction industry involves and also what a career with Balfour Beatty can offer.”
On the second day everyone took part in a simulation activity based on the scenario of a council creating a new music festival. With the theme chosen to engage the apprentices, they worked in teams to compete against each other to win the contract to build the main stage. Taking on one of six roles (project manager, health and safety advisor, construction manager, electrical engineer, sound engineer and lighting engineer) the apprentices were supported by former Balfour Beatty apprentices. Using a mixture of knowledge, including costs, forecasting profits and working to budget, creativity and skills including decision making, leadership and risk management, the teams worked together to prepare and present an attractive bid to a panel of industry experts.
Bethany Guy, a Balfour Beatty Electrical Apprentice based at Sellafield and in her last year of the apprenticeship scheme, is following in her father’s footsteps. She explained, “My dad is an electrician to trade and has a great career. I decided to become an electrician because I saw how my dad got everything he wanted out of his career and how many opportunities there would be for me. When I finish my apprenticeship I want to go into planning or quantity surveying and I’ll get that opportunity with Balfour Beatty. Seeing how other people in the company have progressed makes you realise if you are determined that it’s possible.”
Through the industry-led 5% Club, Balfour Beatty is committed to ensuring that within five years, 5% of its workforce is in a formal apprenticeship or is a sponsored student or a graduate. As of November 2014 Balfour Beatty’s UK construction business was training 209 graduates and 219 apprentices and supporting 186 trainees through HNCs and degrees on day or block release.