National Apprenticeship Week highlights the potential of on-the-job learning

The Old Bridge is illuminated red, orange and yellow to mark National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 8-14th February. This is an important event, highlighting the opportunities for young people who aren’t sure if school is the place for them.

Apprenticeships enable people to learn while they work, combining traditional study with work-based experience. The structure and duration of apprenticeships can vary, however they all involve on-the-job learning and a salary, making them an attractive option for young people considering their options.

Caroline Chisholm, Education Manager, explains: “Apprenticeships are traditionally taken up by young people aged 16-24 as a way of continuing their personal development while joining the world of work. They have proved particularly popular with young engineers, as they are an opportunity for people to get practical experience.”

One example of an apprenticeship is the story of Rochester Bridge Trust Arkwright Engineering Scholar Brecon Hoadley, who is half-way through a four-year defence weapons degree apprenticeship. This combines a number of work placements with different levels of training that allow Brecon to become an Engineering Technician, before deciding if he wishes to continue his training to become an Incorporated Engineer.

Louise Chenery is also an apprentice working towards becoming an Engineering Technician. Working for FM Conway, her two-year placement meant she was a part of the multi-million pound Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project – which, with additional safety measures in place, continued despite the pandemic.

Caroline added: “Much of the education and working world is far from normal at present and yet where possible it is carrying on. This means it’s more important than ever to highlight the opportunities that are available and the potential of apprenticeship schemes.”

You can find out more about apprenticeships in general on this website. Also, make a note of the FM Conway Apprenticeships page, where new opportunities will soon be listed.
To find out more about civil engineering from people involved in the work – including apprentice Louise – watch this video.

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