David Hudson – Journey Through my Apprenticeship

In the summer of 2016 I received my A level results after two years of Sixth Form at Ravens Wood School in Bromley. I was then left with the difficult decision of what to do next.

Unlike those around me I was undecided about my future path, most people were all geared up ready for university but I didn’t feel drawn to further education in a university as much as everyone else; however I still wanted to continue my education. My saving grace was a friend who recommended apprenticeships and directed me to a few websites to help me along my way. I soon found myself in contact with an apprentice provider, who in turn put me in contact with JMP Consultants (now SYSTRA). Shortly after my interview I was offered the job and I gladly accepted.

In August of 2016 my Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering began, whereby I attend the City of Westminster College one day a week and work in the office the other four. I find my time at college very enjoyable as I am with friendly like-minded students and get to learn about an area I am interested in (with no long lectures!). The course is entirely coursework-based so no exams to stress over and I aim to complete my Level 3 BTEC in Civil Engineering and The Build Environment after 2 years. This will then put me in a good position to get promoted to full technician.

I expected that the first few weeks at SYSTRA would take a while to get used to and to integrate with my new colleagues, however I was met by a very friendly and lively group. It was very easy to mix in with the large graduate centred group and I quickly found myself busy with numerous different tasks and projects helping me transition from a 9 till 3 school day to a 9 till 5 working day. As an apprentice technician I am mostly tasked with providing technical assistance with drawings and projects, primarily using CAD, which was one of my favourite parts of Design Technology at school. I usually produce technical drawings, annotative maps and diagrams, technical notes and reports, and often get out of the office for site visits, measurement surveys and statistical surveys. I also find myself working beyond the engineering team, and across all teams in the company. After just a few weeks, I had already worked with most colleagues which was very interesting, and allowed me to find out about how each team works and to have a very varied workload.

As part of my apprenticeship I am expected to complete my NVQ in my spare time, this revolves around writing personal statements for each of the units in the course, providing evidence that I am able to use the skills required by a civil engineer. Every few months, I then meet my apprenticeship mentor who coaches me through the course and checks up on me to see how I am doing. I am doing my apprenticeship with STEGTA and I have a great mentor who is always happy to help me with my NVQ, college work or just to give me advice for work. I also aim to complete my NVQ within two years alongside my college course.

Throughout my time with SYSTRA I have had a great time working and meeting up with my colleagues. I am supported heavily by my mentor and line manager who have taught me so much since I joined. I am also very fortunate for the young group of graduates here as it means lots of social events. Currently to date I have had the chance to play a few football matches, take a trip to jump giants, a short cycle ride around London, a week skiing trip in Bulgaria, a work Christmas party, and countless birthdays and Friday night events. I am constantly reminded by my friends how lucky I am to have such a social work group.

To round it all off, as a message to anyone unsure about university or where to go next: consider apprenticeships as they are a great middle ground for anyone wanting to get started in the working world while still learning and earning qualifications at the same time.