To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, Wirral Met students took part in a session dedicated to careers for apprentices in construction.
Employers Morgan Sindall, Cara Brickwork and A&B Engineering, offered advice on how to get an apprenticeship and what key attributes they look for when recruiting.
Joe Michaelson, Contract Engineer at A&B Engineering based in Liverpool providing mechanical, electrical and plumbing services across the North West across a range of sectors, said: “I started as an apprentice then moved to qualified electrician to running sites before working my way up to the role I am in now.
“Each year we take on a minimum of 5 apprentices. We don’t expect anyone to turn up on day 1 and wire a house, but you do need to have basic qualifications in maths and English and a keen attitude, good timekeeping/punctuality, and willingness to learn and be involved. There is scope to move forward in any apprenticeship - it’s your foot in the door really.
Neil Allen, Managing Director of Cara Brickwork said: “We try to take on apprentices who have a bit of experience and have done their diploma 1 or 2 rather than those who’ve come straight from school with no experience.”
“There’s plenty of opportunity in bricklaying be it houses or other sector builds. As a bricklayer myself I’ve always liked big build work because every site is different and you learn new things.
“We take on about 10 apprentices each year in brickwork. The key thing we look for in an apprentice is engagement; it’s asking questions and having an interest, having a bit of experience, being able to show us what you’ve done – pictures, videos, and knowing who we are!”
Also speaking at the event were former Wirral Met student, Josh and current Wirral Met / Cara Brickwork apprentice, Tom both of whom have accessed the apprenticeship route in different ways.
Gill Roberts, North West social value manager, Morgan Sindall Construction said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Wirral Met students to our Knowledge Quad as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
“This year’s theme is ‘Skills for Life’, and this really resonates in the Wirral area where there is a huge demand for construction skills to deliver major regeneration works over the coming years. Our ongoing partnership with the college has been designed to help students develop these skills and embark upon rewarding careers in construction.
“Our event today takes this a step further and provides support and practical advice for students in accessing apprenticeship opportunities on projects such as our Birkenhead Office Development for Muse Developments and Wirral Council happening right on their doorsteps. Our supply chain partners A&B Engineering and Cara Brickwork have been on hand to offer practical advice of how to find the right apprenticeships, how to make their applications stand out, and what to expect once they have secured a suitable position. These students are Wirral’s future workforce and the sky is the limit for them!”
Sue Higginson, Principal at Wirral Met College said: “Here at Wirral Met it’s not just about courses, it’s about giving our students the head start they need to succeed in their chosen career.
The employers we partner with like Morgan Sindall, Cara Brickwork and A&B Engineering, offer that vital insight into the construction industry through events like these, on site work placements, apprenticeship opportunities, and ultimately jobs.”
Paul Crawford, Head of Construction at Wirral Met College added "As an FE college, the pivotal ingredient to any successful curriculum plan is 'Employer engagement'. No longer do we just deliver traditional qualifications, we deliver careers.
A carefully considered collaborative approach between the college and our employer partnerships ensures our training programmes are bespoke to the needs and demands within the Construction industry aimed at narrowing the skills gap across all trades. Our partnership with Morgan Sindall takes learning to another level with scheduled bespoke sessions delivered at the Knowledge Quad. This unique approach provides work experience on a real construction site whilst experts across different trades deliver 'Master Classes' in a safe environment based within the live construction site. That direct synergy between the college and employers ensures students develop practical skills, underpinning knowledge. But equally important is the development of behaviours, improving communication skills, confidence and interview techniques.
Today’s event at the Knowledge Quad was amazing and having A&B Engineering and Cara speak with our students just highlights the genuine opportunities for Apprentices in Construction."
Find out more about the Morgan Sindall’s education partnership with Wirral Met here.