Global Engineering Consultancy, Opus International Consultants (Opus) is promoting apprenticeships as a key focus for encouraging young people into engineering.
This is a key issue in the industry and Huw Edwards, UK Managing Director said; “We must start by setting the right foundations for a positive flow of new talent into the industry. It is also our belief that the right balance of diversity and inclusion drives better business performance. We see apprenticeships as a great way to recruit young people into the industry.”
21 year old Gavin Hallam, who has recently completed an apprenticeship at Opus, is now working as part of Network Rail’s Operational Property Structural Assessment Programme (OPSAP) delivery team, supporting Opus’ Project Manager. The framework involves inspecting and assessing railway station assets at over 90 stations across the North of England.
Huw says: “Working on this scheme is providing Gavin with an opportunity to develop important skills, including a grounding in stakeholder management. There’s plenty of scope to further strengthen his communication skills and feedback from the client is that he is doing an excellent job.”
A focus on apprenticeships at Opus echoes the cadetship scheme which operates across offices in New Zealand. During the last 10 years in New Zealand, 300 young people have joined their programme for school leavers, where they are supported by Opus through a five years training course with the company.
Prior to starting on the scheme, Gavin worked in Retail after completing his A’ levels and began his apprenticeship as an administrative assistant. Whilst, proving extremely capable in the role, Gavin expressed an interest in becoming a Technician.
As his apprenticeship came to an end, Gavin accepted a permanent role which offers the opportunity for him to develop new skills and future training for a career in Engineering. Gavin explains: “The apprenticeship was a great experience and I’m pleased to have found an area that is of a real interest to me and for which I can develop a career.”
Joanne Burnett who leads the apprenticeship course at New College Nottingham says: “The Apprenticeship scheme is designed to give young learners the chance of gaining valuable qualifications whilst earning and gaining valuable work experience. I'm delighted that Gavin has done so well at Opus and really taken on-board what the apprenticeship programme has to offer him now and in his future career.”
Other success stories include Kate Richards (CAD Technician) who joined Opus in 2014 and attends a local Technical College part time, studying for a HNC in Civil Engineering. We would then like to support Kate to go on to study for a part time degree. Opus has supported apprentices for many years originally through the Youth Training Scheme (YTS). It’s pleasing that those who entered the business via this route are still working at Opus, including Jason Davies, who joined with YTS 25 years ago, and is now a IT Systems Administrator.