We first spoke to Trainee Engineer, Jared, in May 2019 and then a year ago for National Apprenticeship Week 2021, he again shared his first-hand experience of working as a Winvic apprentice. Since then, Jared has made the journey from Trainee Engineer to Junior Site Engineer, integral to the delivery of multiple nationwide projects from Northampton to Leeds. Not only this, Jared has also made the transition from a college to university student, busy studying for his Degree Apprenticeship to gain a BEng in Civil Engineering.
Currently working on Gateway 45 – a 465,000 sq ft fulfilment centre in Leeds – we caught up with Jared on his latest project, and his plans for an exciting future.
When do you finish your apprenticeship?
“In May I finished my course at Leicester College; I got a distinction in my HND which I was very happy about! Since then, I started at Nottingham Trent University in September for my Civil Engineering BEng degree. Thanks to the support from Winvic in securing my HND distinction, I was able to start from Year 4 of the course, which was a big incentive for me, and I’ve been able to attend classes on campus, rather than online. My three units this year include Infrastructure, Geotechnics and Further Structures. I’ve enjoyed Infrastructure the most as it’s related to what I do on site. I’ve already received my first graded coursework which was a high First, and have just submitted a group project for Structures so we’ll wait and see.”
What happens next year?
“For my final year I’ll be working on my dissertation and my Personal and Professional Development (PPD). With Winvic I have more responsibilities on site now, which I have to weigh up with my uni work. It can be a juggle, but always rewarding! Separate to that, I also have my ICE training towards becoming Chartered. For this I’ll be doing quarterly reports which give evidence of how I’ve demonstrated other attributes on site. Once I’ve finished my degree, I’ve got 12 months to complete the end-point assessment to gain my accreditation.”
How far are you from finishing Gateway 45?
“We’re planning for a practical completion in early summer, as we’ve already had a number of partial handovers with representatives on site. The client’s specialist fit out contractors have been busy installing the racking and fitting it out with the robotic materials handling equipment. We’re focusing mainly on the external areas now, with around 70 per cent of the yards poured.
“It’s been a really exciting project to be part of. I’ve seen a lot and learnt a lot! We were a year working on the ground packages before we put the foundations in – taking it all down to rock head, down around seven to eight metres, and then we built it back up again with engineered fill. That’s something I’ve never seen before. My main responsibilities have involved surveying the ground at each layer to ensure it hasn’t been applied too thinly or thickly. The CTS testing process can take a while to come back, so if a layer fails, we have to go back and mark that layer of failure within the test grid. It would then involve digging back down to ensure everything is as it should be before building those solid foundations. It feels like you’re in the ground for so long – breaking down and building up – and then the steel frame is up in the blink of an eye!”
What have you enjoyed most about the project?
“I was involved with the construction of a new bridge over the Wye Beck, providing access to the site. From start to finish, this was a huge undertaking – from taking the ground down, to putting the sheet piles in, to watching the bridge go up itself with 32-metre beams being dropped in on a crane. I worked alongside one specialist subcontractor for the sheet piling to give us that first platform at the bottom and set the wall and another to cast the bridge deck and lower the beams onto it. We were close to a Park and Ride car park that was being used for Covid-19 testing – which we couldn’t close – and did all our work down by the river. We had the Environmental Agency monitoring the project, so it was a big challenge, but a brilliant experience.”
Have you enjoyed your time at Winvic?
“It’s been fantastic, it’s a very rewarding company to work for. I can hardly believe I’ve spent nearly 4 years at Winvic now, and I’ve been working away from home in Leeds for the last 18 months. For every subject I’ve been studying, there’s always been someone at Winvic willing to help. It’s not a chore to them, I’ve felt 100% supported not just in my role, but also with my university work.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I think after my ICE Chartership I’ll be done with studying for a while as I think 5 to 6 years is enough! A lot can happen on site during the one day a week I’m at university, so I’ll be glad when I’m in a position to not miss anything. Once my studies are finished, I’ll be looking to work my way up the ladder at Winvic towards senior engineer level, and a few years after that I’d like to become a project manager. All the PMs I’ve worked with at Winvic have been brilliant; I’ve learned different skills and gained new knowledge from each and every one. What I find the most interesting is that they all strive to get the very best out of the team and manage individuals in varied ways. This has helped me build my own picture of how I’d want to do it in the future.”
What’s your biggest takeaway from being a Winvic apprentice?
“A lot of people can learn the equations and do the theory side of stuff, but it’s not all about being the cleverest in the class. If you want to progress up the ladder in construction, you have to understand what the site managers, the design team, the commercial team and everyone else in the end-to-end process are doing. Understanding how everything happens is important to me and until you’ve seen it and physically worked on it, it’s all just words on a notepad. Communicating well is an important man-management skill to have. If you can’t speak to people and get them to understand what you need, it’s hard to build relationships. It’s all about that confidence building and with Winvic’s support I’ve gone from strength to strength.”
If you missed our other National Apprenticeships Week 2022 blogs, click here to read Elliot’s story and here for Maddie’s and find out what advice they have for people considering their construction career options.