A Cornish construction and professional services consultancy is helping young people start their careers in construction through apprenticeships and work placements.
In its social value report released earlier this year, Mace Ward Williams Joint Venture (MWJV) revealed that from February 2021 to February 2022 it welcomed 15 new apprentices across its projects with Cornwall Council using local businesses.
It has also facilitated 16 work placements and delivered 45 careers events to help inspire the next generation who want to help shape and deliver an improved built and natural environment for the county.
A joint venture between Mace and Ward Williams Associates (WWA), MWJV is supporting Cornwall Council on the Built Environment Professional Services Framework, which includes a range of public sector construction and infrastructure programmes.
Outreach through in-school events, career fairs, apprenticeship programmes and working closely with colleges and universities has resulted in many students being able to take the first steps in a career in construction.
Year 10 Mounts Bay student Ivy Kirk is one of those who has engaged with the scheme through a week-long work placement covering such skills as cost management, project management and design. She discovered the opportunity after an in-school presentation by the MWJV team which helped to break the preconceptions about the construction industry being male-dominated and limited to on-site roles.
Alice Taylor is another who joined WWA as a project management apprentice this July. Alice, who is 21, found her start in project management after volunteering at a Covid-19 testing centre before quickly progressing to leading teams and helping with the mobilisation and demobilisation of sites across the South West as a Roaming Deputy Manager.
She now works supporting WWA across various projects in Plymouth and with MWJV on its carbon impact and reduction programmes across Cornwall.
Alice said: “My time within the Covid-19 testing programme gave me a wealth of experience within management and a huge boost in confidence. It was also important to me that I was helping to make a difference during the pandemic. The experience gave me an insight into project management and confirmed that this was something I wanted to pursue.
“I wanted to continue academic studies alongside employment, and a degree apprenticeship seemed like a fantastic opportunity for me. Thanks to WWA, I am on a five-year apprenticeship scheme, working towards gaining a BSc in Construction Management and aspiring to become chartered. I am very grateful to WWA for providing me with a wealth of opportunities and experience in project management within the built environment, as well as the chance to work on some great initiatives like the carbon reduction programme to support our B Corp status.”
Newest addition, 17 year old Tobi Crowther, began his T Level apprenticeship with WWA this month in Truro as part of his Design, Surveying and Planning course at Truro & Penwith College. Commenting on the role, Tobi said: “I’m still very new to the team but am having a great time getting stuck in on some practical projects to help support my classroom learning.
“I still don’t know what path I want to follow in this sector and the apprenticeship has already given me the opportunity to try lots of different things to see what I like best, whether it’s project management, quantity surveying or something else.
“The large-scale community projects like the Boscawen Park development as part of Truro Town Deal with MWJV have been really interesting and exciting to get involved in. It’s great to work on something that I will actually see and take advantage of as a local.”
Through the scheme, MWJV is also attempting to improve the awareness of the opportunities in the sector outside of the major cities.
In January 2023, trainee Sam Currell will join the company as a Level 7 quantity surveying apprentice, putting his maths degree to good use. The company will be sponsoring Sam’s continued education in the form of a master’s degree.
MWJV’s work with the council has also directly resulted in 95 new full-time jobs and £34.9 million created in social value.
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