Last month, we celebrated National Apprenticeships Week which inspired us to delve deeper into the stories of our staff members.

Apprenticeships allow school leavers to study to become an engineer or technician while working. We have staff, like Bethany Clark, who have paved successful careers by taking the apprenticeship route. With more and more students interested in pursuing apprenticeships, we spoke with Ben Higginson, Traineer Engineer, about his experience and the lessons learned on making the most out of an apprenticeship.


The Apprenticeship Experience

1. Can you briefly introduce yourself and share your background, including your academic qualifications? 

I joined Fairhurst in 2022 directly from school, as a Trainee Engineer in the Infrastructure Team based in Westhill, Aberdeenshire.  Having obtained Higher and National 5 qualifications I wanted to work towards a degree and also wanted to be able to support myself financially.

2. In what ways did your experience at our firm contribute to your professional and personal development?

I believe that gaining a year of experience before starting my course has played a huge part in my initial development, as it allowed me to broaden my understanding of the industry and get a head start at University.

3. Did you have a mentor during your time as a graduate apprentice, and how did they contribute to your learning and growth?

Stuart Thompson, Partner, has taken on the role of my mentor. He provides me with guidance and feedback that encourages growth in both my studies and work.

Many of my colleagues also show interest in my professional development and are happy to provide feedback for my coursework.

4. How would you describe the unique opportunities that working at our firm provides for young engineers?

As Fairhurst offers solutions in all areas of civil engineering, trainees get access to a large library of resources and experienced colleagues who provide detailed guidance and support. Trainees may also get the opportunity to experience other engineering disciplines as part of the work based learning programme.

5. Can you share a specific instance where you had to apply problem-solving skills to address a work-related issue?

All engineers must apply problem solving skills to their work to produce a suitable product. Roads and drainage design is reliant on existing topography and constantly keeps you on your toes to ensure that a project remains reasonable to construct and within budget.


Learnings to share

1. What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time as a graduate apprentice at our firm?

Having a career path in mind at an early age. Many of my peers from school are still unsure of the path they want to take. Thanks to the Graduate Apprenticeship, I have been able to get a taste of the profession that I aim to achieve a degree in, reassuring me that I am on the right path.

2. Were there any notable projects or achievements that showcased the impact of your work?

As I have only been with Fairhrust for one year, the projects that I have been involved in from the start have yet to be constructed. My work on site levels at Chapelton has allowed the architect to produce an accurate 3D render of Geddes Square, an upcoming housing and commercial site for promotional purposes.

3. Based on your experience, what advice would you give to future graduate apprentices at our firm?

Make sure to participate in CPD seminars often when not at university as they will improve your understanding of the industry and the information can often be referenced in coursework.

4.  How can new apprentices make the most out of their time with our company?

Make sure to review and take on board any feedback received from others as it will aid your personal and professional development.

5. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience or any final thoughts for aspiring engineers considering a career at our firm?

Remember that everyone around you was in a similar position at some point in their career, whether you are starting your journey as a school leaver or a graduate. Take note of anything you learn as it will help you quickly progress in your career.


Learn more about starting your Early Career with Fairhurst

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