Training the next generation

Published:  19 November, 2013

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services has been providing people with craft apprenticeships since 2010, giving them the opportunity to become established mechanical and electrical engineers.

The scheme, which provides training and development for the next generation of skilled apprentices, has seen 61 apprentices receive training with 15 placements since January 2013. Apprentices have the opportunity to work alongside fully qualified employees on some of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects, including major hospitals, universities and commercial schemes. These projects provide training in a number of areas such as installing circuits, wiring, security, drainage, heating and ventilation.

Ian Lambie, a second-year plumbing apprentice, said: “During my first two years, I benefited from studying in college and then being able to apply that learning to a wide range of construction sites such as a prison, a sports centre and a university block. As a result of working with skilled tradesmen, I have gained competence in different areas of plumbing and increased my confidence and communications skills. I am thoroughly enjoying my apprenticeship and hope to be here for many years to come.”

Freddie Palmer, meanwhile, is a former BBES apprentice. “I enrolled on the craft apprenticeship programme in September 2009 through Islington Council,” he said. “Completing the apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to gain experience on a diverse range of projects such as Blackfriars Station, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels and Heathrow T2B.

“I became a fully qualified electrician through my apprenticeship and on completion I was encouraged to enroll in the Building Services Engineering course at Liverpool John Moores University, which I am currently completing. The course is split between academic and practical project experience which will help me further my career within the industry and achieve my goal of becoming a project manager.”

BBES managing director Phil McGuire began his career as an apprentice and continues to be an ambassador for the programme. He explained: “The apprenticeship programme is an excellent way to learn the skills of a mechanical or electrical engineer, supported by the academic course and hands-on experience. I began my career as a craft electrician apprentice on the Blyth Power Station in the North East. Since then, I have held many roles on many projects and worked my way up to become the managing director of Balfour Beatty Engineering Services.”

BBES has now been invited to contribute to the electrotechnical sector of the government’s new Trailblazer scheme. As part of this scheme, Balfour Beatty is developing new degree-level apprenticeships in Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Building Services Engineering and Quantity Surveying.