Manchester's Innovative Apprenticeships

Ged McNicholl
National Apprentice Week is a timely reminder of the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

National Apprentice Week is a timely reminder of the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. Construction is a priority sector for Greater Manchester, where an exemplary apprenticeship scheme is under way.

Attracting young people into the construction industry is key to meeting the current and anticipated skill shortages. There are a variety of apprenticeship programmes available to young people seeking to enter the industry, and Faithful+Gould is delighted to be involved with an especially innovative scheme in Manchester.

Our work with Manchester City Council gave us the opportunity to work with young people at the very start of their careers, shaping their journeys in the construction industry and allowing them to experience the diverse roles available. We have joined forces with our colleagues in Atkins, Manchester City Council’s supplier partners and The Manchester College, to offer a unique two-year apprenticeship programme.

The bespoke programme offers young people the opportunity to be employed at higher apprentice level, gaining experience with project teams within the property development, design and construction industry. They experience several businesses on a rotation basis, including time spent working with Manchester City Council. The apprentices also study on day release at Manchester College, gaining a Higher National Certificate in Construction and the Built Environment and an NVQ Diploma in Construction & Building Services Management & Supervision. Following completion of the programme, successful apprentices can continue on to a Level 5 Higher National Diploma or transfer to a specialist degree.

"When I heard about this opportunity, I was determined to grasp it with both hands and now that I’ve been on the apprenticeship programme for six months, I’m really seeing the benefits."

Mohammed Hassan, Faithful+Gould Trainee Building Surveyor

The Manchester College recruits the apprentices and introduces them to the provider companies involved in the programme. Each company employs one apprentice throughout the scheme. As well as time spent in the employer company, the apprentice will be seconded into other companies on a four month rotation programme. In turn, each company will welcome a new apprentice into its team, from the other provider companies, every four months until completion of the two-year programme. The next phase of the apprenticeship programme launches in September 2016, when collaboration with a range of provider companies is planned.

Mohammed Hassan, trainee building surveyor, joined Faithful+Gould’s our Warrington team in September 2015, and he is a strong advocate for the scheme. Mohammed recently commented: "When I heard about this opportunity, I was determined to grasp it with both hands and now that I’ve been on the apprenticeship programme for six months, I’m really seeing the benefits. One of the great things about this scheme is that I get experience with six organisations. I’m employed by Faithful+Gould and I spent my first four months with their building surveying team. I’m now on my second placement, this time with Manchester City Council, where they’re giving me a month in each of three departments. First I was in their education department, working on anything from a 150-year-old building to a brand new school, and now I’m getting experience with the North West Construction Hub framework team. I’d really recommend this appenticeship programme, if, like me, you’re motivated to get straight into the world of work. I know I’m getting great workplace experience, alongside day release at Manchester College, which will prepare me for the challenges of the construction industry. It’s too soon to say which profession I’ll eventually choose – but it’s great to experience this variety, and I know I’ll be able to make an informed choice."

For Faithful+Gould, apprenticeships are an important part of our diverse recruitment strategy, contributing to the future of our business. Our clients freqently ask us to demonstrate how we actively support local economies and develop the talents of local young people – the Manchester programme is an excellent example of how well this can work. It also gives us a great opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of young people, through exposure to a diverse range of real life projects.

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